National Lampoon's Dirty Movie
2011 or something
For those of us who went to college in the late sixties and early
seventies, it is truly heartbreaking to see what has happened to The National
Lampoon brand. In the magazine's early days, it was edgy, funny, original, and
very often downright brilliant - imagine a smarter, totally uncensored version
of the kind of material Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert do today. The writers
included such comic geniuses as Doug Kenney and Michael O'Donoghue. When the
company branched out into films, it mined the talents of some other terrific,
if more mainstream, writers like Chris Miller and John Hughes, and made some
flicks which are now beloved classics: Vacation and Animal House.
There was a time when comedy junkies like me would buy anything with The National Lampoon name on
it, knowing that at its very worst it would be better than just about any
other source of humor, and at its best would be at the very zenith of American
humor in the 20th century.
The years have not been kind to the franchise. In fact, the brand has been
so mismanaged that the name now means the opposite of what it once meant.
People like me automatically stay away from anything prefixed by "The National
Lampoon presents," knowing that at its best it will not be worthwhile and
at its worst it will be heavy-handed,
juvenile, trite, obvious, and generally unfunny. More depressing to me than
any of those adjectives is the fact that their material is now just plain
dumb. The brand which was once unafraid to publish
Sauvage, Philosopher Detective, has now become a receptacle for
elementary school playground humor. Worst of all, they don't just develop their own weak
projects, but they also slap their once-revered brand name on after-the-fact, thus
bestowing their blessing on weak projects developed by others. Why? Presumably
they get a few bucks for the use of their name.
This is one of the worst, possibly THE worst in a long line of bad, sophomoric films released
with the Lampoon imprimatur. It's such an amateurish effort at comedy that it
would embarrass those two guys who made Epic Movie and Date Movie. Even Carlos
Mencia wouldn't steal these jokes.
It is a film about making a film. The
film-within-a-film, which occupies much of the running time, is a compilation
of tasteless old-fashioned jokes delivered as non sequiturs, without a
storyline. The jokes are the ones you and your friends exchanged at recess in
the seventh grade. It is, more or less, a hard-R version of Rowan and Martin's
Laugh-In. Pretty hip material, eh? This is the kind of project that could have
played on drive-ins in the 70s, starring some washed-up vaudevillians like
Keefe Braselle or Pinky Lee, with cameos by Henry Gibson and JoAnne Worley.
The real National Lampoon guys of that time would have ridiculed it
mercilessly if they chanced upon it, which they probably would not have,
because they would have been busy trying to think up some obscure jokes about
Tycho Brahe, or wondering what Tarzan might have been like if he had been
raised by flamingos instead of apes.
The parent film, which is to say the shell around the film-within-a-film,
basically consists of a bunch of guys arguing about whether to say the
"n-word" in their film when they make bad taste jokes about black people, and
debating about whether anybody would see such a film.
Jeez, I hope not.
And you shouldn't see this one either.
There is quite a bit of nudity, breasts only, usually in quick flashes. The
only woman I could identify by name is Jeanine Hill, who stars in a fake
commercial for Vienna Sausages. I included that entire commercial in the film
reel because it was the funniest thing in the movie.
But that's not saying much, as you'll see.