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Movie Review

Leonidas, the king of the Spartans, was molded as a boy by the iron fists of his grandmother. He was tested by the happy feet and sharp tongue of a five-foot-high penguin.

Now if that story intro sounds slightly familiar, but oddly off-kilter, then you may be aware of the comic book-inspired blockbuster that Meet the Spartans is based on. The film 300 tells the historical (but highly stylized and hyper-violent) story of Spartan warriors who took on the massive armies of the Persian king Xerxes in an effort to buy time for their amassing Grecian countrymen.

This spoofed up version of that tale still features near-naked musclemen wearing nothing but leather undershorts and a capes. But this time they could only round up 13 volunteers to face the hordes. And the battles take on a different shape, too—including a dance-off and a bad-mouth-your-mother session.

The Persian ranks have thinned a bit as well. There looks to be at least 20 or 30 of them this time around. And their numbers include Transformers, the Ghost Rider, Rocky Balboa and a hunchbacked Paris Hilton.

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Positive Elements

Uh, well, this is a very broad parody that ridicules some of the things that we deemed "negative" in our review of the original film.

Spiritual Content

King Leonidas consults the Spartan prophets and a female oracle about going to war. Unlike 300, however, the spiritual/worship aspect of the visit is deemphasized. And the oracle turns out to be Ugly Betty.

King Xerxes is roughly depicted as Muslim, but he talks with a Yiddish accent. A man identifies himself as the emissary to the great god Xerxes.

Sexual Content

In this version of Sparta, women receive high fives in greeting and men give each other open-mouthed kisses. The men also hold hands and skip their way off to battle. Indeed, homoerotic elements and visual imagery are troweled on with a broadsword (one of several phallic symbols not avoided), and the movie's muscular, bare-chested men in tight leather short shorts are the core of nearly every other joke.

Leonidas stands fully naked at the window, with his back to the camera. The camera shows him from the front, too, with a naked but genital-free crotch. During one battle Persians drop their pants to reveal very hairy backsides.

With Carmen Electra in the film, though, you can bet that female sexuality is also on display. She wears a number of form-fitting outfits (including a skintight black Spidey suit) and displays ample cleavage. (Ogling of said cleavage is always evident.) One scene shows the actress naked on her back with key areas covered by food. And later she turns over to reveal partial breast and side nudity. She passionately kisses one of Xerxes messengers. A blind man squeezes her breasts.

Women dance provocatively in bikinis. One woman bares her backside to the camera. Actresses impersonating Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan all pose for panty-less crotch shots. (All of them are blurred.)

Double entendres about breasts and male genitalia are common.

Violent Content

Since this is a parody of a very violent film about hand-to-hand sword and spear battles, there are a number of scenes that duplicate those activities—including spear thrusts through torsos and decapitations. The violence is bloodless, and is often used to (crass) comic effect. For example, during one battle a soldier thrusts his spear between the legs of a fellow Spartan and impales their foe—putting a homoerotic twist on the action that is supposed to come off as a visual double entendre.

Other visuals include a man ripping off his own nipple and then stapling it back on, and various celebrities being kicked into a "pit of death" and being ground up by a garbage disposal. Leonidas performs a dance move that breaks his neck and rips his skin open. (He snaps his head back in place.) A woman's humped back explodes when a man drives a knife into it.

Leonidas is shown "toughening up" his 9-year-old son through a number of painful looking moves that include punching him in the face, pile-driving him headfirst into the ground and hitting him over the head with a folding chair. More examples of the boy being beaten and tormented are shown during the film's closing credits as well.

Crude or Profane Language

A partially bleeped f-word is heard, while the s-word is used about a dozen times. The words "a--," "d--n," "b--ch" and "h---" are all spoken five to 10 times apiece. Along with these profanities, vulgar references to male and female body parts are scattered throughout. God's name is misused a few times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Characters drink from goblets, but it's never determined what may be in the cups. Spartans drink beer. Rocky Balboa has a large needle full of Botox driven into his forehead. Britney Spears sings and dances while looking intoxicated. In several short American Idol scenes, a Paula Abdul character appears intoxicated as well.

Other Negative Elements

Bodily fluids, including a baby's projectile vomiting and several animals' excrement make the gag list.

Conclusion

I've made a decision. As much as it pains me to do so, I'm going to try to stay neutral on this one. After all, critics have been retching over the spoof flicks of writer/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer for as long as the duo has been cranking out lame scripts and helming randy comedies. But in spite of that, for some bizarre reason, people out there keep buying tickets to support their work.

And those people probably don't want to hear me dwell on the fact that there's nary a laugh to be found in Meet the Spartans. And they won't want complaints that the movie's script lacks a single ounce of wit. Or to be told that this barrel of tripe is overflowing with homoeroticism. So, for their sake, I'm not beating that drum.

I mean, satire is tough to do well. Wryly emphasizing truth and puncturing pretension through wit and irony is a tall bill to fill. Especially if all you can come up with is a script that can do nothing more than scamper from one smoldering refuse pile to the next. So, shouldn't I rightfully cut these guys some slack? Shouldn't I just keep quiet for once?

Nope. Can't do it. I'm done trying. Meet the Spartans is a lame, witless, randy barrelful of tripe that's overflowing with foul language, indecent exposures and homoeroticism.

Didn't I already write that?

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Genre

Comedy

Author

Cast

Sean Maguire as Leonidas; Carmen Electra as Queen Margo; Ken Davitian as Xerxes; Kevin Sorbo as Captain

Director

Aaron Seltzer ( Vampires SuckDisaster MovieEpic MovieDate Movie)Jason Friedberg ( Vampires SuckDisaster MovieEpic MovieDate Movie)

Distributor

20th Century Fox

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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