Looking for a movie to watch but there’s nothing good on television and you don’t want to drive to your local Redbox or video store? This column takes a peak at some of the curiosities to be found on Netflix Instant Streaming. Today: Super Capers
Super Capers, a 2009 superhero comedy written and directed by Ray Griggs, is reminiscent of Marvel Comics’ little-remembered parody book from the ‘80s What The?!. The movie also happens to be about as funny as hearing the death rattle of your only child.
Seemingly raised on nothing but old issues of Mad Magazine and Looney Toons, Griggs has stuffed his movie with an abundance of larger than life cartoonish flourishes and the end result is colorful, lively and completely unentertaining. Super Capers is the type of film where, when an attractive woman walks through the door, a phantom whistler lets out a catcall to announce her presence. Griggs consistently uses generic sound effects pulled from any off-the-shelf editing software to cover up the fact that his jokes have no teeth of their own.
While there’s nothing wrong with a bit of silly humor every now and then, Super Capers is like a morbidly obese child who has eaten nothing but breakfast cereal his entire life. It’s gotten fat from easy jokes that have fallen from the tree of humor and fermented in the sun. Instead of establishing a real, honest-to-god earned joke, the movie is more than happy to settle for the same kind of limp parody that Griggs’ contemporaries Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have mastered. After all, why write a joke of your own when you can just have characters quote dialogue from Return of the Jedi while standing in a room that’s an almost exact replica of the Emperor’s throne room?
It’s a lot of work to come up genuine laughs. Instead, Griggs is more than happy to throw Christopher Lloyd’s nephew, Scrubs‘ actor Sam Lloyd, into an RV van tricked out to look like the time-traveling DeLorean from Back to the Future and call it a day.
Justin Whalin, who most audiences remember as Jimmy Olson from Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, stars as Ed Gruberman, a wannabe superhero lacking any real super powers but sporting a skin-tight suit and cape to call his own. When Gruberman spots a mugging, he steps in to assist but his actions land him in jail. Sentenced to a halfway house for misfit superheroes, Gruberman finds himself part of the Super Capers team. The Super Capers are a gang of morose, vain or just plain incompetent superheroes and Gruberman is an easy fit into their team dynamic.
Unfortunately, Gruberman is also part of a needlessly elaborate plot by a mysterious villain with ulterior motives for the young hero. With his new team in danger, Gruberman must step up and become the hero nobody asked him to be.
Super Capers stars a who’s who list of character actors from television and the big screen — stuffed into spandex, fed unfunny jokes and set loose into the wild to fend for themselves. Much like chimpanzees who have been raised in captivity and freed into the jungles of Africa only to quickly end up a meal for a hungry lion, Super Capers‘ cast are easy pickings for those looking to mock or criticize.
In all fairness, though, the cast, which includes such notable actors as Danielle Harris, Michael Rooker, Jon Polito and Tom Sizemore, gives the movie their all. Like class clowns eagerly trying to gain the attention/approval of the cheerleaders and jocks, the cast is game to make complete and utter fools of themselves if it means they’ll get a laugh. Heck, most look like they’ll even settle for a polite chuckle.
After a first act that, while undeniably unfunny, is easy enough to follow, the movie quickly melts into an incomprehensibly and unnecessarily complex web of time travel and lame twists in its third act. Griggs seemed to have remembered that he was in fact making a movie — one where an actual story was necessary — so he quickly stole from movies such as Star Wars, The Matrix and Back to the Future and called the finished product a parody.
Instead of building a coherent story from scratch, Griggs instead seemed to focus more during pre-production on filling the movie with as many cameos as he could. From Adam West to Doug Jones to Clint Howard, Griggs doesn’t let any role in his film go unfilled with a half-notable actor.
Super Capers is clearly the work of a man who tried his hardest to create a family-friendly superhero comedy without having any real knowledge of the superhero genre. It’s not a clever movie, it lacks any real ambition and, as an added bonus, features one of the most annoying opening credits sequence in movie history.
Super Capers is the type of movie you show your kids when you don’t like them and want to punish them for draining away your hopes and dreams with their birth.
It’s the type of movie that reminds audiences that God exists — because if God exists, so does Satan and only Satan could be responsible for financing Griggs’ filmmaking career.
Super Capers is the type of movie that Netflix Instant was made for — cause if you actually exchanged cash in order to watch the movie, you’d begin to wonder what the business end of a pistol tastes like.
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Tags: Adam West, Back to the Future, Christopher Lloyd, Clint Howard, Danielle Harris, Marvel Comics, Return of the Jedi, Scrubs, Star Wars, The Matrix