Ah the Onion. “America’s Finest News Source.” I’m sure many remember reading their first Onion article and uttering the words “what the f—, really!?” and then feeling stupid when the next person you showed it to snickered at you and then called you a dumb idiot. We’ve all been there and I’m sure we’ve all inflicted that joke onto one of our peers at some point. That’s what the Onion is all about, really…making people feel stupid, mocking them, and then also making yourself laugh at the hilarious and obscene headlines that the Onion publishes every day.
While it seemed like an unlikely thing to make, The Onion Movie has eventually come to fruition after all of these years. Despite it being produced as far back as 2003 (thus explaining the late Rodney Dangerfield’s oh-so-brief cameo), the film has finally seen a release in some form…and that form is in this direct-to-DVD release. Since the film has been screened and shown in some form around the country since 2003, it’s slightly surprising that this film took so long to see the light of day. What is even more confusing is that the individuals and situations it parodies at times still remain relevant today. I don’t know whether to be impressed with the films topic choices or the world’s lack of change.
How to describe The Onion Movie…hmm, that’s going to be difficult. It almost flows like a Jackass film, except with stupid stunts we see random, comedic sketches. You may say “Hey that sounds like SNL!,” to which I’d reply “Yes…kind of but not really.” While the sketches and skits are set up like SNL, the feel of them is slightly less…scripted feeling. I’m using a lot of “…” in this paragraph for a reason and that’s simply because to think about this movie for any extended period of time causes parts of the brain to slow down. Is that a good or bad thing? Well…
After the unfunny and horrible stupid Meet the Spartans I wasn’t exactly in the mood to watch another parody film, but I gave The Onion Movie the benefit of the doubt simply because I enjoy the website itself so much. The trailer for the film, which I’d seen on other Fox releases, looked appealing enough, though I wondered how the hell they would make a ninety minute movie out of it. The simple answer is they really didn’t; there’s a very, very loose string of plot running through the movie in the form of a news network being bought by a giant corporation. This giant corporation just wants to shill its products on-air, complete with annoying on-screen penguins, advertising not only the network itself but its newest film, Cockpuncher (yup). Sound entertaining? Well, quite frankly…it is.
The randomness of the stories as well as the overall stupidity of it all makes for a fine way to waste an hour and a half, quite honestly. There are few recognizable faces aside from the aforementioned Rodney Dangerfield, but Daniel Dae Kim makes an appearance as player in a “Host a Rape” game scenario, Joel McHale as an office worker, Paul Scheer as electronic store salesman Dirk, Michael Bolton as himself and Steven Seagal as the Cockpuncher. It’s not exactly a star-studded cast, but it’s these unknowns who make most of the film entertaining.
Another element of the film to enjoy is the extreme racism and prejudice it showcases. There’s pretty much a racist angle from every minority here and just the overall…wrongness of it all. It’s hard to explain, but when this film gets off Politically Correct Blvd. and heads down Wow, Did They Just Say That? Ave., you’ll either be deeply offended or laughing your ass off.
I honestly haven’t had this much fun watching a film in a long time. I was laughing, shocked at what the movie pulled off (especially some of the more “offensive” scenes that were removed from the film…one of which involves a Nun and…well, I’ll leave it at that for now) and just all around entertained. I don’t know what that says about me when I find such a relentlessly vulgar and obscene film so hilarious, but hey…I don’t really care. All I can say is I was a lot more entertained with this parody, which sported a Mel Brooks-ian quality at times, than I was with other efforts (*cough*Meet the Spartans*cough*) of late.
Overall this film comes Recommended. I was honestly surprised by how good it was and while the Britney Spears parody may seem a bit dated now, it doesn’t make it any less humorous since it actually encompasses the young teen singer market in general. In the end enjoying this film will really depend on how much you enjoy being shocked and offended. There are a few sketches that don’t fire on all cylinders, but for every Nerdy Dungeons and Dragons rip off there is an Armed Bandit sketch…and that’s A-OK by me.
The Onion Movie arrives on DVD in a standard single disc amaray DVD case without any insert or slipcover. Disc art is half of an onion (sadly the original “butt” cover is nowhere to be seen on this release…disappointing) and the menu system, which is simple and generic and offers navigation to the scant few extras provided on this set. Sadly there isn’t any commentary…I would have loved to hear from those involved about how this cluster of weird and funny came about, but I guess that’ll have to be saved for the Special Edition, should we get one.
The first extras to flip through are the Deleted Scenes (9:29). There’s a wide variety of alternate takes/reactions that weren’t used in the film in here, although there is an especially explicit discussion with Spears spoof Melissa Cherry that was left out of the film. In addition to that there’s a magazine subscription card spoof almost identical to the one in the Loaded Weapon movie. Funny, but not as original and thankfully they left it out as all I could think of was “Hey, I’ve seen that joke before! When I was five!” Finally there’s a short reel of Outtakes (3:34) that oddly aren’t all that funny and trailers for The Darjeeling Limited, Burn Notice and Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs.
There isn’t much here to check out, but the film itself is worth owning (at least I think it is, but I also love Anchorman, so take that as you will). Recommended.
The Onion Movie is now available on DVD.