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Typical Friedberg & Seltzer fare
2/10 I'm a sucker for spoof movies. And although I am of the opinion that Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg are a pair of talentless hacks, I keep buying their movies on DVD, in the faint hope that one of these days they will produce something half-decent. I decided to give them a fair shot this time around and actually sought out the real thing - "The Hunger Games" before I stuck Friedberg & Seltzer's offering into my DVD player, so at least I would have some idea of what they are trying to spoof.5 years ago
The result is fairly typical Friedberg & Seltzer fare - grab a bunch of unknown actors who bare a passing similarity to the more talented originals, throw in a bunch of gratuitous pop culture references that are way too late ('Harry Potter', 'Gangnam Style', 'The Expendables', 'Avatar' etc.) and try to tell your story in under 80 minutes, including 20 minutes of bloopers and credits. In that respect, "The Starving Games" doesn't disappoint and nothing in this movie will come as a surprise to those of you who have seen other works by Friedberg & Seltzer.
This is their sixth collaboration as directors (sadly, there are more in the pipeline - next up is a spoof of Fast & Furious) but alas, they are not really getting much better at this sort of thing. The only decent movie they were ever involved with was back in 2000 as two of the six writers on 'Scary Movie'. Based on their career track since then, it is clear that it was the other four writers who actually had the talent.
That this film hasn't been picked up by a proper distributor and has basically gone straight-to-video says it all. I'd love to know where Friedberg & Seltzer get the money to keep financing this stuff. It's probably all my fault, as I keep buying all their DVD's! If we all stopped watching, maybe they'd go away and get a real job. The thing is though, I can't help myself. I *knew* this film would be pants. I just had to see it for myself just to see how bad it really was. I'm desperately trying to think of something positive to say about this movie. How about - "It's not the worst of the six films they've made?" A final word to Maiara Walsh - you're better than this.
Better than their previous attempts, but still far from good
2/10 Yet another 'modern spoof' by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, 'The Starving Games' has as its main focus of parody the 'Hunger Games' film. Alongside it, multiple references/spoofs of other hit films like 'The Avengers' or 'Expendables', or popular culture in general.5 years ago
Friedberg and Seltzer have for very long tried to copy the parody style of David Zucker, with varying degrees of success: 'Scary Movie' was very good (though I believe that was more due to the other screenwriters involved, like the Wayans' brothers), as was 'Wrongfully Accused' to a lesser degree (though that was more due to Nielsen than their writing), but the rest of their works tend to range from regular to terrible; in fact, their more aimless, messy spoofs ('Epic Movie', 'Disaster Movie') are amongst the worst films I've ever seen.
'Starving Games' falls in the second category, with some genuinely funny moments (like the aforementioned 'Avengers' and 'Expendables' spoofs) but with a lot of bad ones (including, for example, the rather tasteless sex scene). Friedberg/Seltzer try so much to cram as many 'hip' references as possible, that by the end the final product is an unfunny, idiotic-looking mess. The fact no actor here managed to give a good comedic vibe, which could save some scenes (something Leslie Nielsen was very good at), makes this worse than it could have been; the actors don't even seem to try at all, and no one has any charisma (especially the main actress).
Unfortunately, while this is a slightly better attempt, It doesn't give me hope for their future career. The fact their comedies seem to keep having a degree of audience success means they will keep with this formula. Guess I will just have to learn to stop bothering with their films.
For fans of Scary Movie and related spoof movies
10/10 I don't really understand what people expect to find when they decide to watch movies like this. I do know what I can expect, because they are always the same. If you like this type of ridiculous, non-intelligent, dirty comedy, good. If not, why do you bother?5 years ago
I had a good few laughs with this movie, and it entertained me more than other films that apparently are great (see pacific rim). This movie is not pretentious nor tries to amuse you with new, all fantastic jokes. It doesn't need much budget and it's something I appreciate. It's also better than other predecessors such as Disaster Movie or Epic Movie (those were actually quite bad). As I said before: if you like the Scary Movie saga and related spoof movies, go for it.
Now, 10 is probably a bit overrated, but I can't stand the 3 or so score that this movie shows at the moment, while other trash is in the 7s range.
I expect a lot of clicks on the NO button regarding if this review was useful to you. Please, be my guest, I wouldn't have it any other way. The day I am loved by the masses will be the day that I start rating movies like twilight with a score of over 5.
Run and tweet this
1/10 A few weeks ago, upon discovering known and universally panned parody filmmakers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer were making a parody of the popular franchise The Hunger Games, I sent out a message on Twitter I thought would be seen as encouraging to some. It read, "Encouragement to young filmmakers: whatever you're writing now is infinitely better than the new parody film The Starving Games. Soon after sending the tweet, I received a reply from the film's official Twitter reading, "Great! We're working on The Starving Games 2!" The fact that the PR/marketing campaign for the picture needs to reply in a smarmy way to negative feedback online about their film shows about as much maturity on their part as the film at hand. Unsurprisingly, The Starving Games is another miserable endeavor of a parody movie, directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the same men who have brought you Date Movie, Epic Movie, Vampires Suck, among other installments of the dead parody genre. That's right, I'm referring to the genre as dead now. Consider my reviews of A Haunted House and Movie 43 (which I'll throw in the same genre since it revolves around many self-referential skits and lampoons A-list actors) the genre's funeral service and this one a visit to its gravesite. What has happened to a genre so promising and so filled with life? The simple answer is it has been reduced to what appears to be a cinematic competition between writers to incorporate as many pop culture and movie references in one film as possible. In the first few minutes of The Starving Games, we are annihilated as viewers by the abundance of references thrown at us, as if it's a commercial break on Television in mid-December and we're trying to decide on what toy to buy our children. The Friedberg and Seltzer formula is to have no continuity, no logic, and no wit in their story. Just clobber together every successful film character, pop culture icon, current celebrity, etc into roughly eighty minutes and string it along with a loose plot and hope someone laughs (or enough sales come through to cash a large check).5 years ago
As inferred by the title, the film is one long parody of the popular book/film franchise The Hunger Games, with the protagonist of Katniss Evergreen now under the name "Kantmiss Evershot," an inept archer who now must fight for her life in the game where her and another opponent must kill one another in The 75th Annual Starving Games. The winner receives an old ham, a coupon for a foot-long sub sandwich, and a partially eaten pickle. The person who sits through this film in its redundant, eighty minute glory gets nothing but a shorter amount of time left in their day.
With all the disgustingly unfunny references, I'm glad this film was shot, edited, and completed before Miley Cyrus and the "twerking" phenomenon became mainstream. If I had to witness something of that caliber in a film that already breathlessly tries to include the "Gangnam Style" musician Psy, the whole Avengers squad, Harry Potter and his friends (who are told to get out of the film because their franchise has ended), and the cast of action movie legends from The Expendables, I would've probably given up.
The reason why I resist discrediting or shattering the likely large egos of directors Friedberg and Seltzer is because, well, why bother? They have found a formula that pays big money and have capitalized off of the lowest common denominator of wit and intelligence there is in the cinematic world. I am anticipating reviews of The Starving Games that consist of death threats, comments about the devolution of humor because of the directors' films, and remarks of their worthlessness because of their filmography. Reviews of their films have become as predictable as the films they make, so why bother attacking them? All I can say is be grateful this one is confined to a video-on-demand released and a very limited theatrical release, as opposed to their other films which garnered wide releases. Let's hope their window of release just becomes smaller and smaller over time.
The Starving Games and films like it don't make me angry anymore. They just make me sad. It makes me upset to see films like these gain an audience of young teens who are already experiencing shorter attention spans thanks to Television and the internet. I'd let my twelve year old child watch the original Halloween before a film by Friedberg and Seltzer. Or, better yet, the original Airplane! or The Naked Gun series, both starring the gifted comedy actor Leslie Nelson. Those films worked because they spoofed their own genres and didn't try to incorporate every current celebrity and movie figure that has rose to prominence since their last film. There is no reason anyone should see The Starving Games, but, oh, people will.
Run and tweet that.
Starring: Maiara Walsh, Brant Daugherty, and Cody Christian. Directed by: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.
You won't burn any calories watching this laughter-free "spoof comedy"
2/10 It is not as if spoof comedies are terrible, on the contrary there are some brilliant ones out there like ones from Mel Brooks(Young Frankenstein) and Leslie Nielson(Airplane), even Scary Movie and Loaded Weapon 1 were fun if not quite in the same league. Like a lot of people, I do think Friedberg and Seltzer are hacks and not one of their previous five directing-writing efforts with Disaster Movie, Epic Movie,(two of the worst movies ever made), Meet the Spartans, Date Movie and Vampires Suck have been good. Curiosity and that there are some good examples of good spoofs out there were the sole motivations of seeing The Starving Games in the first place. This said after viewing, The Starving Games really is no improvements over the previous Friedberg/Seltzer collaborations though it doesn't quite stink as badly as Disaster Movie and Epic Movie. There are three fairly small bright spots, Maiara Walsh's game performance and the cute Angry Birds reference and Taylor Swift serenading a dying contestant moment(though that only raised a very meek smile). Visually, it's amateurish stuff, the impersonation costumes are also pretty good but that's it, the production values have low-budget TV quality all over it coupled with (thankfully sparse) poorly rendered effects, too many reaction shots(manipulating us into supposing to laugh) and some really choppy editing. The soundtrack feels thrown in and poorly placed, just there for the sake of it which makes it tiresome and sometimes tedious, that it isn't very catchy in the first place doesn't help either. The toilet-humour-heavy dialogue is vomit-inducingly crude, childish and unfunny is the best it gets which is testament to how truly terrible it is. The parodies themselves are no better, like Vampires Suck there is a main gag and other ones that are not as prominent. The parodies and impersonations are just tired, painfully predictable and often irrelevant, reeking of Friedberg and Seltzer just throwing like the most unsubtle of sledgehammers things in with no relevance or structure to them. And the jokes are drawn out especially the lottery draw one and the tasteless sex scene to the point of slowing the movie down. There was at least a story, unfortunately it comes across as a very thin one and is completely lost within the humour, which explains why some scenes were drawn out. The characters are just caricatures and nothing more, and despite Walsh's efforts you feel no shred of empathy for the lead character. The acting is awful, ranging from over-the-top(Diedrich Bader) to vacant. All in all, incredibly lame but is not Friedberg and Seltzer's worst. 2/10 Bethany Cox5 years ago