Legend of Awesomest Maximus
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Legend of Awesomest Maximus



I have found that some movies are more difficult to review than others. They are never the ones that are in contention for illustrious awards but instead tend to be the flicks that have a propensity for winding up in the late, late cable movie schedule. They typically are not rich in subtext or directorial style but can best be described as juvenile. As much as we might like to give in to the tendency to dismiss these offerings the fact is they do have a valid position in the diversity of the cinematic spectrum. Movies like the one under consideration here, ‘The Legend of Awesomest Maximus’ are constantly made because there is a fiscal reason to keep making them. It comes down to simple economics. As long as there are people willing to fork over their hard earn cash to see them the fiscally responsible studio executives will continue to come up with the coveted green light for production. Yes, the flicks are silly with the depth of a split shot glass but they continue to serve a societal function. If you look back at silly comedies in the history of movies you will notice a significant increase during rough times. When the cost of living sky rockets and the unemployment lines lengthen people need the relief afforded by mindless humor. After an arduous day working just to make the bills the last thing many people want to do is focus their attention on a complicated story or dissect the intricacies of expertly crafted directorial style. What many in the audience crave is an excuse to disconnect the higher functioning portions of the brain, put worries on hold and have a few cheap laughs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this pursuit of a raunchy comedy as a guilty pleasure, we all have found ourselves in a room laughing at jokes and sight gags target towards an eight year old boy. You need to cut loose and supersede adult concerns and mature sensibilities aside and let our inner child back out in the play ground. A flick like this one is perfect this much needed respite from the daily grind by bring you back to a simpler time when scatological humor was the height of comedy. Most of those that adamantly renounce this phenomenon are denying the fact that they secretly enjoyed all of the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise and most likely have couple in the corner on their collection.

Even with this said this movie is admittedly not near the top of broadly cut satires. The production is rushed and the acting minimal to say the least. The point to keep in mind here is these are not criteria most have in mind when deciding to view a movie of this sort. If you are in the mood for asinine entertainment that will shut down higher cerebral functions than no number of bad reviews is going to deter you from popping this disc in your DVD player. The criteria for assessment has to be whether the film delivers on what is promised ant to that it has to be said it worked. In its title the movie boast a connection to the satiric ‘National Lampoon’ franchise but like many such name brands the quality control has slipped over the years. Peaking for most with ‘Vacation’ or ‘Animal House’. The once exemplary ‘National Lampoon’ has given up its position as sharply written satire to a seemingly endless string of fart jokes. Again there is nothing inherently wrong in this type of humor; it was around since man first let one loose in an enclosed cave and undoubtedly someday man with bring them along to the stars. It is part of our humanity albeit not the finest of our defining qualities. One aspect that misses here is the genre it attacks, the sword and sandals epic was spoofed with more tightly produced results years ago in ‘Meet the Spartans’. One element in common it these flicks appear to be an employment program for comedians formerly associated with the now defunct television sketch comedy series ‘MAD-TV’. In this case the cast member, who typically was assigned the hefty buffoon, Will Sasso takes on the titular role. The pair of well established beautiful actress is split between Sophie Monk and Kristanna Loken. This leaves the function of readily recognized actors to Rip Torn and the original ‘90210’ alumnus Ian Ziering.

Like many of the comedians that graduated ‘MAD-TV’ he does have more talent than is demonstrated here. He plays the part of ‘Curly’ in the highly anticipated bio-pic, the ‘Three Stooges’. In this flick Sasso takes on the titular role but need only give a performance the presents it as a two dimensional caricature. I’m fairly certain there is a plot here somewhere but with characters like Hottessa (Loken), King Erotic (Kharly Payton), or the character name that pretty much defines the level of the movie, Testiclees (Ziering), I’m sure a plot was not foremost in the minds of those involved in laying out the film. The film glues together random bits and pieces from ‘300’, ‘Troy’ and other similar mainstream movies. This does give the opus a familiar feel of a sketch show. This was actually the best possible format as it removes the onus for consistent narrative. As it is if you are bored or object to any particular gag just wait a second or two and another will be along shortly. Much of the humor is sexual in nature and tips the line to homophobic but you most likely gathered that from the cover art. Sasso sticks to his best portrayal, a dim witted goofy large man who through no perceivable credentials id the general in charge of the Nation’s army. Sasso is so adept at this type of role that he brings out as much entertainment value as is possible. The film went straight to video have a few years bouncing around for a number of years. The Blu-ray release is excellent in the technical presentation but might be considered over kill here. if you are feed up with political coverage, wars and conflicts this might just give you a much needed few laughs.

Posted 03/08/12

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