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Sunday, March 11, 2012
If you answered "a Trojan penis"--without even having to hear the question first--then you pretty much know what to expect with National Lampoon's THE LEGEND OF AWESOMEST MAXIMUS (2011). Most of its creaky, obvious humor is similarly groanworthy, and, some might say, extremely stupid (myself included). However, I found it more grudgingly amusing than wincingly unfunny, with some of it being so utterly, almost guilelessly moronic that I couldn't help chuckling now and then.
Will Sasso does his usual thing as the title idiot, an inept Trojan general who got the job because he's married to the daughter (Kristanna Loken as the cleverly named "Hottessa") of senile old King Looney (Rip Torn, proving that he's a lot funnier when the writers of "The Larry Sanders Show" are doing his dialogue).
Hottessa wants Awesomest to inherit the throne instead of Looney's effeminate son Orlando (Gary Lundy), but when Orlando makes off with King Erotic's wife Ellen (Sophie Monk) during a goodwill visit to Greece, King Looney is delighted by this apparent proof of his son's heterosexuality ("My son's no pole smoker! He don't gobble no goop!"). In truth, Orlando really only wants Ellen as his BFF because her superior fashion sense makes him giddy, but his act results in bloody war against the Greeks with Troy's military under Awesomest's dubious command.
Needless to say, gay jokes abound along with words like "homo", "pussy", and "fruitcup", with King Erotic (Khary Payton) queening it up like his life depended on it. Sex-related humor in other forms makes up most of the rest of the film as well--Awesomest and his men spend their off time in titty bars, his visit to some holy men known as the "Ephors" to get his fortune told finds them surrounded by naked pole dancers, and various scantily-clad babes generally pop up just about everywhere else.
The Ephors warn Awesomest of the coming of the Greek army and that the gods decree he must fight them off with only--you guessed it--300 men. (And also that their "costumes" must be "super-faggy.") Since the YouTube-video-turned-feature-film 305 already covered that territory (and did it way funnier), here we get a brief 300-and-BRAVEHEART-inspired battle followed by Awesomest going MIA and ending up being captured by slave traders and sold as a gladiator.
At this point the film actually gets funnier as it spoofs the likes of GLADIATOR and "Spartacus: Blood and Sand", with gladiator school consisting of games like musical chairs and three-legged races. The arena sequence apes the jittery speed-up/slo-mo effects and editing that's become the norm these days. In addition to the bloody one-on-one combat there's a football game using a severed head and a torture sequence (also inspired by BRAVEHEART) that will delight chubby lovers while leaving others aghast.
The hit-and-miss comedy continues when Awesomest returns to Troy in time for the Greeks' final assault on Troy, complete with the aforementioned "Trojan Penis", which, naturally, won't fit through the gates until it is rammed in, backed up, rammed in again, etc. Inside are a group of Greek soldiers led by Testiclees (a buff-looking Ian Ziering), whose Achilles-like invincibility has only one vulnerable point. (Yes, there.)
Ziering's character is a pretty funny spoof of Brad Pitt's balletic super-warrior in TROY as a preening stoner who does a slo-mo tumbling run before running his opponents through. His dimwitted cousin, known only as Testiclee's Cousin, is played by Edward Barbanell, whose main talent seems to be the ability to look like he has Down's Syndrome. One running gag consists of Testiclee's rather kinky relationship with his mother Milfia (Tiffany Claus), who apparently gave birth to him when she was five years old.
Complete with an unfunny Samuel L. Jackson-wannabe narration (which actually has a nice pay-off at the end), THE LEGEND OF AWESOMEST MAXIMUS looks okay in its own low-budget, green-screeny way, with capable direction by Jeff Kanew (REVENGE OF THE NERDS) and a rather robust musical score. Performances range from good to not-ready-for-The-Carol-Burnett-Show.
Tony Cox is funny as Minoritees, a midget warrior who goes over to the Greeks after being spurned by Awesomest and then spends most of his time turning down King Erotic's offers of copious gay sex as a reward for his service. Deon Richmond of NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE turns up in the role of laidback, weed-smoking gladiator Jamal. As Quantas, a genuinely capable military leader kept busy fixing Awesomest's screw-ups, Kevin Linehan stands out by being just about the only actor in the film to play it straight.
The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 1.78:1 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 surround sound and subtitles in English and Spanish. The only extra is a trailer, but the closing credits begin with a brief collection of outtakes.
Make no mistake--while I did derive a modicum of enjoyment from THE LEGEND OF AWESOMEST MAXIMUS, it's the kind of movie that you'd have to be a drunk, stoned, teenage frat rat to fully appreciate. So if you have an inner one of those lurking around inside you somewhere, this should keep him happy for awhile.
Buy it at Amazon.com
Posted by Porfle Popnecker at 10:24 PM