“National Lampoon’s…” used to be a prefix that carried weight, with Animal House in 1978 and a string of comedy movies throughout the 1980s including the John Hughs penned Vacation the brand was responsible for some of the funnier movies of the time. Flash forward 30 years to 2011′s Dirty Movie and it’s clear to see that the humour has long been beaten out of a brand that’s as a stale as the mattress in a middle aged hookers bedroom, with originality, and any sense of dignity, having been slung out the window long ago.
National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie is a contradiction in terms; it’s not actually a movie, it’s a series of unconnected jokes reusing the same cheap acting ‘talent’ loosely strung together by the idea of trying to make a movie that is purely jokes. From the outset it is a mind numbingly banal and relentless rotation of horrible cliches, racist stereotypes, offensive generalisations, poorly acted insults delivered with the comic timing of a bucket of vomit. It’s unfair to call it a movie, to do so would cheapen the idea of the cinema in general, there are documentaries about soap factories that are funnier than this ball of tiresome clap trap. After about 30 minutes it descends into simply flashing boobs at the screen in a vague attempt to maintain your attention, at which it fails.
Somehow the production value manages to feel even cheaper than the jokes, it has the look of a budget TV episode and it would have worked much better as a half hour comedy show, it still wouldn’t have been funny but there we are. Terrible green screen backdrops, awful digital filters, and a series of useless props contribute to an experience that defies the very idea of comedy. There was always an element of tack to the National Lampoon movies, an inherent cheapness, but this was just part of those movies’s charm and they had a story or a concept to back them up, something woefully lacking here. Cyndi Lauper turns up in a cameo that is truly baffling, why she thought it was a worthwhile project to put her name to is deeply troubling.
Overall there really isn’t much to be said about National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie other than to suggest not to watch it, it is offensively puerile nonsense that wouldn’t even be worth your time if it was in a £1 bargain bin. The only thing to say in it’s favour is that it pretty much manages to equally offend every person, gender, race, religion, and sexuality going – a veritable carpet bombing of abuse. Dirty Movie is like a compendium of tasteless jokes, eventually one might make you laugh but 99% of the movie is filler, tumbleweed inducing, cringeworthy, humourless filler.