National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie


When I tell people that I enjoy bad movies it often comes quickly with an explanation of the various types of ‘bad’ there are in the world of film. Some things are still entertaining, laughable, intriguing for style, or a solid use of a small budget and a ‘no care’ attitude, but then there are the bland horrible ideas that should have never made it past the concept stage. I’m not sure if this particular creation is self-aware enough in realization and that is why the movie barely making it to production is part of the plot, but I doubt it. That might be a little too clever for the atrocity I was asked to review.

Perhaps this thing was just pushed through due to the National Lampoon name, or because someone thought giving it a tiny budget would make them money with the DVD sales. No really, it had a theatrical release, which shocked me too. This thing is just a strung-together travesty of jokes that I thought were kind of funny in high school, or that might be told at parties and by people who think offensive and racist humor is the best thing available. Instead it comes off like amateur comedy hour, or a “how to be offensive 101” course that struggles to even live up to that in some parts.

The first screen is an image of a dog with someone pointing a revolver at it exclaiming, “Turn off all cell phones or we’ll shoot this dog,” which tries to establish the tone before word one, and it’s downhill from here. There is black and white footage of Ellis Island with some inspirational quotes about immigrants, making me think this movie was filmed yesterday with how topical it is, but it was released in 2011 and I certainly don’t remember any promotional work for it. That is quickly turned into a joke with low hanging fruit and the British national anthem playing in the background. We get two white ladies being stereotypically racist with a “non-threatening black man” Bryant Gumble mention before some random dramatic text and a short bit about a kid asking a nun, “what does a priest get when he wants pussy,” and after getting his ass beat, he vows to make a whole movie about nothing but jokes. Congratulations, that lame setup starts a series of skits that will take up the next ninety-one minutes of all our lives. Barely a story, barely a movie.

“But tits plus funny is box office gold.”

Yes, there is nudity, but it doesn’t help as much as most think it would. Nothing really does, and everyone looks bored. I was a bit surprised to see Christopher Meloni not only helped direct it, but was the main character, starring as the producer. It’s like there is a bad taste in my mouth now, even though I loved him on Oz and most know him from Law & Order or Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. In here, okay, he may have not phoned it in, but he could have and no one would have noticed. Mario Cantone from Sex and the City was pretty funny until I realized it was just the same bit, apparently Cyndi Lauper was bored enough to be in a few scenes, and there are a few other comedians some might recognize, but I wonder if any of them will actually admit to doing this film out in public.

The skits or jokes themselves range from kind of funny to groan-worthy eye-rolling and a few just made me uncomfortable in their presentation. No, the KKK member with the African-American ventriloquist dummy who ends up being a guy from Singapore under the hood didn’t offend me, but the lazy way they handle it and uncreative outcomes just make it feel even more awkward. There are midgets in the movie, because when you think what elements go into a completely trying-too-hard to be offensive and shameless project, there is a checklist. The young kids saying curse words and talking about sex is a bit funny at first I guess, but even it falls quickly. Also, I live near Alabama and didn’t know there were that many ways to make the same animal fucking joke that many times, and the Iraqi jokes are so damn bad. I laughed at a few things because they went in a different direction, but even the funnier bits are eventually beaten into the ground and some things wouldn’t be funny to anyone due to poor writing. When the bloopers during the credit roll are funnier than the main attraction, there is a problem.

“What do a gynecologist and a pizza boy have in common? They can smell it but they can’t eat it.”

I’m not really sure who this movie was for, but I’m sure someone out there laughed at most of it, and the few positive reviews I found still had grievances to air while drowning in negative comments from other viewers. It was so similar to Movie 43, but that seemed to have money, time, and at least a little effort put into it. I lied to myself and said Dirty Movie would get better after a flawed intro, but the second half is actually worse. I watched it a second time to be a good critic, give the film another chance, but that simply made the experience leave a deeper stain on my psyche. Also, if a lack of transition causes anyone pause, well, this movie forgot they existed. I honestly had to double check when I saw there was a sequel made in 2012 called Another Dirty Movie. Great, they can dress someone else up as a Nazi and have them tell me jokes about Jewish people. I think I’d rather try to make it through Meet the Spartans again. Okay, no, but close…



This article originally appeared on my Patreon page.


About stephenwilds

Writing in the dirty South, this recovering internet addict wakes up every morning wrestling with nightmares of Silent Hill, Battletoads, and where to put that third comma.
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