Saturday, December 28, 2013

Big Ass Spider!

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Finally, a movie about big spiders without David Arquette in it.

Big Ass Spider! – 3 out of 5

You don’t sit down with a movie that has the title Big Ass Spider! and expect a riveting drama or character-driven adventure. This isn’t Casablanca, this isn’t Citizen Kane, this isn’t even Porky’s or anything with the greatest man to ever have his name attached to a film (Adam Sandler). This is a movie about a spider with a big ass…and you fucking get it!

Big Ass Spider! or latest Call of Duty trailer?

After experimenting with some foreign DNA, a secret government laboratory accidentally creates a spider with the size equivalent of a “Big Ass” (Sir-Mix-A-Lot was called in to help with the measurements). Now the spider is loose and it’s up to an exterminator extraordinaire (Greg Grunberg) and his security guard friend Jose (Lombardo Boyar) to stop the beast before it destroys the city.

I won’t deny that there was a certain charm to the film but that charm alone wasn’t enough to make this film anything more than just a average, one-time viewing movie for me. For everything that is entertaining about this film, there are several other aspects working against it and preventing it from really hitting home and being fun.

Dat Spider Ass!

It would be unfair to hold this film up to a realistic level with its acting because, namely, it’s about a BIG FUCKING SPIDER!!! This film isn’t meant to be a serious monster film but it’s a tongue-in-cheek affair that riffs on the sci-fi films of old. Matters aren’t assisted in anyway when you see the cast is made of relatively unknowns and players who are normally reserved for supporting roles. For example, Ray Wise is in the film as a military leader heading up the hunt to kill the spider and, despite how awesome Wise was in Twin Peaks or how well he’s made a career at being a fantastic straight man in many comedy roles, Wise is still a supporting player and doesn’t bring much gravitas to his role in the film.

I get it, Wise, the check cleared.

The worst case this film has is Greg Grunberg as the exterminator and hero of the film; Alex. Grunberg has proven himself over and over again in the world of entertainment…as a supporting character. While he seems perfect to play the slightly cocky, mildly pudgy protagonist for this film, Grunberg just doesn’t have the screen presence to pull it off. Occasionally, he’s great as the wannabe hero but most of the film he looks like he’s trying too hard to be cool and then is followed by a complete inability to hit the jokes home. This makes a lot of his screen time to be grating and it only hurts the film more when a completely needless love angle is thrown in.  It’s hard to wanna see the hero get the girl when I couldn’t stand the hero most of the time.

Sorry, didn't see it.  Stick with being a supporting player, Grunberg.

"I think if my accent gets more cartoonish, then I haveto get funny at some point, right?"
The jokes in this film also fail to deliver and they failed delivering for me at every turn. Too often this film depended on racial stereotypes to try and create laughs and it worked about as well as…well…as well as that sort of thinking works. The character of Jose is about as subtle as Mickey Rooney’s performance as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s…only from a Latino perspective. Then, as if the occasional stereotype wasn’t unfunny enough, the film parodies the viral videos of the Leprechaun seen in Mobile, Alabama and the Antoine Dodson’s rant (You know, the guy beggin’ us to hide our kids, hide our wives and hide our husbands because they rapin’ everyone out there!). While, on an individual level, these elements can still have the potential to be funny, there is still the reality that, by internet standards, these viral videos are considered ancient and having parodies of them in today’s short attention span generation, you are basically parodying a product that feels like it hasn’t existed in thousands of years and will, most likely, never be relevant again.

Well, at least they weren't parodying a Harlem Shake video.

Then you have the special effects…I’m not going to pull any punches here. The special FXs suck in this film. The spider’s size constantly changes—yes, the spider gets bigger as the story progresses and is one of the major factors in the film’s narrative but I’m talking about in many sequences, the spider will go from large to larger to smaller and then back again. Yes, the spider looks cool and has a cool design but it’s obvious that this was done on a small budget…

Subtract some characters, change the time of day, add a spider and...

BAM!  You have their poster and they saved a ton of
cash by copying another film's one-sheet.

…but sometimes it’s too obvious that it kills the humor of it…or helps it! There lies the dichotomy of the film’s special effects. The movie is intended to be a satire of the old movies where ordinary bugs, women or even bunnies attacked a city and were HUGE, so when the film’s special effects look bad, it’s like they are honoring the limited technology and filming techniques of the past. However, despite this charm of the film, the effects made it really hard for a lot of the humor to really work.

I know it sounds like I’m ragging on Big Ass Spider! and calling it a glorified piece of shit by saying that all the things that SHOULD make it work are making the film do the exact opposite but that isn’t necessarily true. I have a lot of complaints about this movie and a lot of the film doesn’t work in making it a campy, fun and humorous movie BUT enough of it works where it is enjoyable. The spirit is there…sadly, however, the funny part had to be provided by me when I had to make fun of the film. Like when I had to ask why there are women sporting thong bikinis at a beach-less park?

Seriously, there was no beach and why a thong bikini?
I'm starting to think this shot and the inclusion of these women were gratuitous.
But a film with a title called Big Ass Spider! would never do something for
gratuity purposes...never!

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