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`Epic' so bad it's not funny.

Byline: Jake Coyle

COLUMN: MOVIE REVIEW

Attempting to compensate for its own lack of originality and humor, "Epic Movie" spoofs several dozen films, a few MTV shows and, of course, Paris Hilton.

With the flimsiest of story lines, the film is more spliced-together mimicry.

"Epic Movie" was directed and written by Jason Fried-berg and Aaron Seltzer, who were among the "brains" behind the similar "Scary Movie" franchise (currently in production for a fifth installment) and 2006's

"Date Movie."

Having spoofed horror films and romantic comedies, Fried-berg and Seltzer satirize mostly summer blockbusters - among them "The Da Vinci Code," "Nacho Libre," "Snakes on a Plane," "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and the "Harry Potter" films.

A foursome of orphans (played by Kal Penn, Adam Campbell, Jayma Mays and Faune Chambers) are assembled from spoofs of various films by obtaining Wonka-like golden tickets, but once they arrive at the Chocolate Factory, they find that the candy maker (Crispin Glover) is a homicidal maniac. They escape through a wardrobe and into "Gnania."

The rest of the film is basically framed in a spoof of "The Chronicles of Narnia," an odd choice. "Narnia" may have been a big hit, but action films and comic book adaptations are far more representative blockbuster fare. "Epic Movie" should have been a "Superman" or "Hulk" parody.

"Epic Movie" isn't totally bereft of decent jokes. Fred Willard (the exemplary comic actor known for his work in Christopher Guest's mockumentaries) adds a momentary jolt of humor for his cameo as Aslo (like the lion hero Aslan of "Narnia"). He explains his lion-human parentage as "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

The film never becomes anything of its own, however; it merely jumps from spoof to spoof, often with tenuous transitions.

One rapidly begins to miss the truly inspired spoofs like "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun" - which make you forget what they are spoofing by making the material their own.

Right now, if it's parody that you want, you're better off turning to that curly haired accordionist whose never-ending career continues to astonish: "Weird Al" Yankovic.

`Epic Movie'

1/2

A 20th Century Fox release

Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and some comic violence

Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Chanchito (Rico Rodriquez) gives Edward (Kal Penn) a painful lesson.
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Title Annotation:ENTERTAINMENT
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Movie review
Date:Jan 29, 2007
Words:390
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