[image-4]Published June 12, 2008.
The Onion Movie
(20th Century Fox)
One sketch in The Onion Movie features faux film critics reviewing The Onion Movie itself. In it, a turtleneck-clad talking head describes the film as "vulgar, lowbrow potty humour thinly disguised as satire." It's canny of the film's writers to recognize and preemptively rebut this potential criticism of their film. There's only one problem: Turtleneck Guy's right. The movie's a series of fake news stories and sketches, loosely strung together by a half-baked plot about terrorism, corporate interference with editorial news content and a fake Seagal flick called Cock Puncher (starring Steven Seagal). Some segments are just as brilliant as the faux news articles and general hilarity The Onion's been pumping out in various print incarnations for two decades and in video form on its website for the last year. (In one film bit, a celeb fresh out of rehab develops a new vice---a "nightmarish addition to life.") But the best Onion articles and vids work because they're short, smart and don't belabour the points they're trying to make. Most of the film does the opposite, running semi-funny dumb jokes into the ground until they're very, very dead. Distancing yourself from your lame jokes by being self-aware about their lameness doesn't make 'em any funnier.