If spoof-movies are your thing, then lower the bar a bit before you stroll in to see this one. On paper 'Meet the Spartans' seems to tick all the right boxes but for all its talk it doesn’t say very much.
From the guys who brought us 'Epic Movie', 'Spy Hard', 'Date Movie', 'Scary Movie' and its sequels comes a movie which sets out to make a mockery of '300' and ends up spoofing everything from 'American Idol' to 'Deal or No Deal' along the way.
From Britney's woes to Angelina's adoptions, Ugly Betty's goofiness to Paula Abdul's rants, Tyra Banks' catchphrases to Sanjaya Malaker's hair, anyone who is anyone gets a mention here (although most would probably prefer to slip through the cracks).
Leonidas (Maguire) is happily married to Queen Margo (Electra) – suppressing, quite unsuccessfully, his attraction to his captain (Sorbo). After a messenger brings news of an advancing Persian army, Leonidas assembles his Spartan troops and sets out to defend his people, or something along those lines (he's not quite sure himself). Along the way he encounters Paris Hilton, Xerxes – aka the bloke out of 'Borat' - and a host of other famous faces. He and his men are forced to compete in dance-offs, comedy comeback competitions and, as a final resort, battle.
With parodies of a range of movies (from 'Stomp the Yard' to 'Borat'), television shows (everything from 'America's Next Top Model' to 'Dancing with the Stars') and celebrities (Ryan Seacrest, Lindsay Lohan and Randy Jackson to name just a few), 'Meet the Spartans' has potential to be a lot funnier than it actually is. It captures most of the characters well in physical terms but it just doesn't develop them with witty dialogue.
Former 'EastEnder' Sean Maguire is impressive in the lead role. He carries the movie well as the quirky hunk with a thousand different facial expressions - to compensate for the patchy script perhaps. Carmen Electra ably supports in a role that requires much prancing about and looking pretty. But Nicole Parker steals most of the laughs while playing Paula Abdul and Britney Spears.
For all its mimicry and broad inclusive nature, 'Meet the Spartans' won't have you clutching your sides or fearing for the safety of your ribs. Despite the vast amount of material covered, it just isn’t that funny. But admittedly you could spend your Saturday afternoon worse ways and this isn't likely to be the worst movie you'll see all year. If you're a fan of 'American Idol', it's worth going to see for the Paula Abdul impressions alone.