DVD REVIEW: THE HUNGOVER GAMES / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JOSH STOLBERG / SCREENPLAY: KYLE BARNETT ANDERSON, DAVID BURNSTEIN, JAMIE KENNEDY / STARRING: ROSS NATHAN, SAM PANCAKE, BEN BEGLEY, HERBERT RUSSELL, TARA REID/ RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Spoof movies are a hard genre to pin down, as a very thin line divides victory and defeat. Essentially a good spoof, to work, has to have not only humour but also a cast and crew that have a degree of affection for the material they lampoon and the ability to handle the tomfoolery with just the right mannerisms. For instance, the king of spoofs, Airplane, had the ridiculous gag-a-minute delivery but the cast were almost entirely unaware that what they were doing was comedy - this is why it works! The script knew when to be overt and covert, and the silliness was a joy to behold. However, in today’s age it seems this art of mainstream spoof comedy has given way to an abundance of dick jokes with tenuous (and often outdated) pop culture gags, all of which are (most detrimentally of all) entirely unfunny. And we would love to announce that this clear send-up of The Hunger Games (a film rife for parody) is a real stand-out for the genre, sadly it is more of the wretched rubbish we have become accustomed to.
Obviously you know what you are getting from a film titled The Hungover Games, and for that reason you can take the wall-to-wall crudeness as a given, but is it too much to ask that the makers of these films understand the point of them? Much like Disaster Movie, Epic Movie and Scary Movie 4 (albeit slightly less dreadful), the film is a complete mishmash of films and parodies all tied together by a plot that essentially sees The Hangover bafflingly meet The Hunger Games. Instead of genuinely just sticking to the main genre at focus, the film throws everything at a wall hoping something will stick, sadly all that does is the odd passing comment on the lack of originality in Hollywood, which is really the only thing that elevates this film above being a complete bomb. Still, these brief moments are hard to notice in a film so full of dildos and bodily functions.
The film’s parodies range from Ted to The Lone Ranger, and when films aren’t being randomly parodied (Carrie, Avatar, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?), The Hungover Games simply throws some big bouncing boobs at the screen and thinks’ “that’ll do”. This said, it is not as bad as some of Friedberg and Seltzer’s spoofs (which shows just how far this genre has fallen), but saying something is better than Meet The Spartans is about as kind a compliment as “that’s better, you only look quite fat in that shirt”. There was essentially fun to be had in the concept, where the drunken Hangover trio stumble into a survival games scenario - admittedly Ross Nathan (as Bradley), Ben Begley (as Ed) and especially Herbert Russell (as Zach) are good at sending-up the central Hangover group - but the film is just not funny at all.
From teddy bear tea-bagging to underage relationships and dumb housewives, the film never sets its sights higher than the gutter but at the same time you would think a film parodying such hits could find a funny approach. Unfortunately, Josh Stolberg’s film feels like it was just written as they went along, adding bits and bobs about films they might have watched while making it. Plus the whole thing is further devalued by the fact Friedberg and Seltzer only recently released their (even worse) Hunger Games-themed spoof The Starving Games, so it is not even the first Hunger Games-themed spoof out there. For all the explicit gross-out content, the comedic value is tame and the 81 minutes you spend not laughing at this could be spent finding funny YouTube videos. Or actually going on a drunken night out with your mates. In fact, take a camera with you and turn it into a film - it will likely be funnier than this.
Special Features: Behind The Hungover Games / Gag reel / Previews