(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)
Why I added it to my queue: Because this was a high-budget, mainstream Hollywood superhero film directed by an artsy indie hipster doofus (Michel Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), and written by a team who are mostly known for their complete inability to write dialogue for grown-ups that doesn't sound like a bunch of surly thirteen-year-old boys drunk on their parents' wine coolers; and much like Ang Lee's Hulk, I've had a queasy fascination with seeing just what kind of trainwreck might emerge from such a situation, even while knowing from other reviewers beforehand that some pretty bad results indeed awaited me.
The reality: CHUG chug chug chug, CHUG chug chug chug...KER-KRASH! Oh man, what an unwatchably pretentious mess this turned out to be; because much like an MFA art-school attention whore, apparently Gondry's solution to how to make a mainstream-friendly action film was to make every single detail call an unbelievably ridiculous amount of attention to itself, then sit back so that we can all marvel in breathless rapture at Michel Gondry The Brilliant Filmmaker Who Makes Superhero Flicks That Are So Much Better Than What The Cattle Are Usually Force Fed At The Mall On A Friday Night. And that always seems to be the problem when hipster douchebags try to make big mainstream-friendly genre films, as we unfortunately saw recently with Dave Eggers and Spike Jonez' dreary "kiddie art film" adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are; that these people are so in love with the smell of their own farts, they just assume that all the mouthbreathers out there in "Bubba Land" will be too, not even noticing the rest of us holding our noses and exclaiming, "What is that awful f-cking smell?"
Now combine this with the literally unwatchable dialogue from the man-child writing team of Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen (the latter of whom is also the film's star and executive producer), in which all these attention-calling action scenes are immediately followed up with scenes of our heroes sitting around gulping cocktails, exclaiming how freaking wicked it is to fight crime, calling women "vag-vags" and other delightful terms from the junior-high playground, and awkwardly prancing around like a drunk uncle at a wedding reception to whatever execrable piece of hiphop sh-t the studio forced Gondry to include on the soundtrack; and you're left with a thorough turd that I confess I had to literally turn off not even half an hour into it, so painfully unbearable as it turned out to be. A film that must be seen to be believed, although by no means do I recommend actually seeing it, this is bound to enter the annals of film history as not just a terrible superhero movie but one of the worst superhero movies of all time, a disaster that ranks up there with Howard the Duck in terms of under-delivering on deservingly high audience expectations.
Strangest piece of trivia: Before it finally got made, this movie was in development for twenty years (yes, you heard that right), with approximately $20 million spent over those decades merely on signing bonuses for scripts and actors who were never used. At one point Kevin Smith was slated to write the screenplay; it's widely believed that his difficulties with the studio over this experience was one of the reasons he eventually retired from filmmaking altogether.
Worth your time? GOD no