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Epic Movie: Unrated

As silly as movies like Airplane! and The Naked Gun may be (God bless 'em), you can definitely say one thing for them: Decades down the line, they still make you laugh. Sure, some of the references have gotten a bit dated (jive, anyone?), but the jokes that are built around those references (Barbara Billingsley speaking jive, anyone?) haven't lost their punch because they're more than just casual, tossed-off pop culture name-checks. Sadly, the same can't be said of Epic Movie (2007). The latest in a long line of "from the folks behind Scary Movie" spoofs, it's more a string of already-past-their-expiration-date gags based on big popcorn flicks than an actual film. The plot, such that it is, is primarily lifted from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A motley quartet of orphans — Lucy (Jayma Mays), Edward (Kal Penn), Peter (young Cary Elwes lookalike Adam Campbell), and Susan (Faune A. Chambers) — find golden tickets that earn them a trip to Willy's (Crispin Glover) candy factory… only Willy turns out to be a chirpy-voiced psychopath who sends the foursome running for cover. Naturally, the wardrobe they take refuge in leads them to the enchanted realm of Gnarnia, which is ruled by the evil White Bitch (Jennifer Coolidge). It's up to the intrepid quartet to join forces with randy Aslo (Fred Willard) and help free the kingdom — with a little help from some mutants, a handful of elves, Harry Potter, and even Borat. But story isn't Epic Movie's strong suit, nor is it meant to be. The movie's sole goal is to poke fun at as many other movies, TV shows, and celebrities as possible, from Paris Hilton to "Punk'd." Which would be fine, if the jokes didn't feel so immediately dated. A drunken Mel Gibson ranting in jail? How 2006! Of course, if nascent pop culture references aren't your thing, the movie's got plenty of crotch hits and boob shots, including Carmen Electra as a hip-shaking, blue-skinned take-off on X-Men's Mystique. You'll see even more skin if you opt for the "How Gratuitous" feature on Fox's unrated DVD, which offers extra access to additional "juicy shots" during the movie. Other extras include a snarky commentary by writers/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer; an audio track with bonus fart noises; a featurette on the film's hook-ups; a "making-of" spot for the movie's "Lazy Pirate Day" music video parody; outtakes; an alternate ending; clips of cast members discussing what their porno movies would be called, why Aslo is so irresistible, and their characters' turn ons and turn offs; two Fox Movie Channel specials ("Making a Spoof" and "In Character with Fred Willard"); the winning short from the movie's viral video contest; and the trailer for Reno 911!: Miami. Both full-frame and anamorphic (1.85:1) transfers are included; audio options include Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish, and French 2.0 Dolby surround, and English and Spanish subtitles. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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