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DVD Review

DVD cover

News Movie (The Onion Movie)


Starring: Len Cariou, Scott Klace, Sarah McElligott, Steven Seagal and Michael Bolton
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Available 22 September 2008

Taking aim at pop princess Melissa Cherry's hit song 'take me from behind', Steven Segal's new film Cockpuncher, and exposing a host of comedy myths and scandals - no news remains uncovered from the team at The Onion...

Based on America's popular satirical newspaper, The Onion, News Movie (or The Onion Movie as it's known everywhere else on the planet) brings us uncensored, uninhibited news and views from around the world... apparently.

The movie starts off showing clips from a new Steven Seagal film, Cock Puncher - a martial arts based action flick where Seagal's character is trained (Karate Kid style), by a wise old oriental guy, in the mystical martial art of cock punching (punching your opponent between his legs). Yes, the gag is funny (slightly) the first time, but this movie just runs and runs with it. To be honest, it might have been funnier if it wasn't for the fact that Kevin Smith's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back hadn't gotten there first with a super villain (played by Mark Hamill) called Cock-Knocker.

Sadly this sketch-based movie just doesn't work. The segments of spoof news are tied together with a rather naff plot thread which sees news anchorman, Norm Archer, being asked by the studio to compromise his journalistic integrity to please a new corporate sponsor.

There are just too many scenes that act as fillers and plenty of examples of things that just don't work. For example in one scene (which is repeated later) Archer storms out of his news studio, down a long corridor and into his producer's office. There is way too much footage of Archer walking down the corridor and it feels like padding. However, I get the feeling that this was supposed to be a gag like the sort made famous by Airplane! - where the production takes the Mickey out of the old format of cutting straight to the action, by stretching something out as it would be in the real world. Unfortunately it doesn't work in News Movie because the walk is not quite long enough - it would have worked if he'd maybe continued to walk outside, across a movie lot and into another building... you get the idea. Instead we just have one long corridor scene.

There are plenty more examples of padding, including numerous shots throughout the film of people sat at home watching the TV - where once again we see the Cockpuncher trailer or the same Melissa Cherry video we've already seen once. So, it came as no real surprise, to discover (thanks to Wikipedia) that this movie was filmed back in 2003, and then shelved after poor test screenings. Then in 2006, for reasons unknown, it was resurrected with apparently one hour of the movie's original footage remaining intact, while new scenes were filmed to pad out the film to a respectable length.

Less than half of the sketches here are funny. However, I must admit that I did find amusing the sketch that involved an armed gunman who just wants a job at the bank; Melissa Cherry music videos (but only the first time though); the white negro; Queen Nathan II gay cruise ad; Bates Computers (sadly the website featured doesn't exist, but does but it's not related to the movie); and the war gaming freak.

Apparently, if the press release is to be believed, this is being released as a 12 certificate. I sincerely hope not, as I'd hate to explain to a twelve year old why the "How to host a rape dinner party" sketch is supposed to be humorous.

The only extras are three deleted scenes (2 min, 40 sec) and Outtakes (3 min, 33 sec).

While there is the odd amusing sketch, this borrows far too many ideas from other sources and just doesn't know when to let a joke die.


Darren Rea

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