“Meet The Spartans” – Susan Granger reviews

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Slapstick spoofs don’t get worse than this wretched, “300”-inspired, extended skit from writers/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, whose previous parodies include “Date Movie” and “Epic Movie.”

Back in ancient Greece, the brave warrior/king Leonidas was trained as a sturdy, stoic Spartan, so when the invading Persian hoards threatened the sovereignty of his city-state, he left his wife and gathered an army of 300 loyal soldiers to face mighty Xerxes in a heroic battle to the death.

In this campy version, muscle-bound Leonidas (Sean Maguire), wearing only leather underpants, is gay, as is his hunky aide-de-camp (Kevin Sorbo). As is their custom, the scantily-clad men greet each other with a deep kiss, while the women get a smacking “high-five.” So despite the seductive efforts of Queen Margo (Carmen Electra), the frolicking fellows – along with 13 faithful followers – skip off to a battle at the “Hot Gates.” Hidden in their midst is the villainous Traitoro (Diedrich Bader), whose deeds serve his name, and their enemy is hideously obese Xerxes (Ken Davitian from “Borat”), whose nipple clamps keep coming off.

Friedberg and Seltzer not only skewer homosexuals; in addition, their ancillary targets include “Brangelina,” Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and the jury for “American Idol” – with parodies of “Ghost Rider,” “Happy Feet,” “Transformers,” even “Deal or No Deal.” Not to mention obvious product placements for Coke and Dentyne Ice, among others.

Actually, if you want to see a free, far-better satire on the same subject, go to YouTube and find the “United 300” spoof.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Meet the Spartans” is a witlessly crude, vulgar 1. It’s not too early to begin a Worst Movies of 2008 list – and this is the first entry. Be warned.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.