Spoofmeister David (The Naked Gun) Zucker produced this sporadically amusing send-up of superhero movies. You’d think that superheroes would be a ripe target for a movie like this, but the gags in Superhero Movie miss more often than not.
Drake Bell stars as a high school nerd who gets bitten by a radioactive dragonfly and turns into a superhero named… Dragonfly. Christopher MacDonald plays the villain, Hourglass who can zap people of their youth just by touching them. (Just like The 4-D Man!) Of course they fight each other and end up being the butt of several (mostly unfunny) jokes.
Director Craig Mazin (who also did the superhero themed comedy The Specials) spends too much time trying to ape the look of the superhero genre and not enough time on putting in funny gags. Although most of the jokes center around the Spider-Man films, Superhero Movie is at its best when it’s parodying X-Men. Tracey Morgan is pretty funny as Professor X but the Barry Bonds cameo is the best. When he takes a bunch of steroids, he’s able to shoot lasers out of his eyes like Cyclops! Brilliant.
There are a handful of random ass cameos that almost makes things worthwhile. Robert (Death Wish V) Joy was great as Stephen Hawking and Simon (Scary Movie 3) Rex had a few good moments as The Human Torch. I also enjoyed seeing Robert Hays (who starred in Airplane, the one that started it all) in the Batman Begins style flashbacks as the Dragonfly’s father.
Unfortunately like the film’s hero, most of the gags don’t fly. While a lot of the jokes are aimed squarely at computer obsessed teens (there are numerous Craigslist, Myspace and Facebook references), they are still preferable to the desperateness of the likes of Date Movie and Meet the Spartans. At least you can always count on Leslie Nielsen for some funny shit. Whether he’s shooting people in the nuts with a nail gun, humping corpses, or talking about bitches, he’s the best thing about the movie. He also gets the flick’s best line when he tells his wife: “Your thighs look like cottage cheese someone threw up on the sidewalk on a hot summer day.”