Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Smosh: The Movie

This takes me back, all the way back to 2005 to be precise. Seems like just yesterday that Smosh was the most subscribed channel on YouTube. As I was sifting through last years releases trying to populate my end-of-year lists, I stumbled across Smosh: The Movie on Netflix, and figured I might as well watch it. After all, I've got fond memories of watching Smosh videos, although I haven't watched any of them lately thanks to my rather insane work schedule as of late. Hell, I can't even remember if I'm still subscribed to Smosh, it's been so long since I've seen one of their videos. I figured it might be a good time to see what Smosh have been up to lately. Maybe they'd still be funny, maybe the movie would be funny, and maybe that Ghostbusters remake will be good, and maybe I'll live to be a billion years old so I can destroy every single copy of Glacier 2 in existence. Or maybe that's all just fantasy because this movie suuuuuucked.
The plot is as follows; Anthony Padilla, a man famous solely for doing stupid things on the internet, did something stupid that got put on the internet and got embarrassed by it enough to want to have it removed from the internet. Wonderful. Not only is the plot utterly unbelievable, it falls flat as soon as you explain it.
I have absolutely no idea how this movie connects to the ongoing Smosh series, or if it does at all. Are Anthony and Ian playing the characters from their show in this movie, or are they doing something completely different? Who knows? Who cares? Certainly not Smosh, or they would have established it.
I bring this up because people will inevitably say that the story doesn't matter since it's a comedy movie. If you're making a good comedy, if you don't have a good story, then you should at least make the jokes funny. If you can pick up any subtext at all, you would probably be able to tell that I don't think this movie is very funny. Which it's not. Even if you've got a GOOD story, a comedy at least needs to be funny. Surprisingly, this movie doesn't have a good story either.
Let's summarize the plot, shall we?
Anthony Padilla, former slacker, has finally gotten a job as a pizza deliveryman, and his friend Ian Hecox resents his lack of free time and holier than thou attitude. On the one hand, he's got a good point. Anthony is a bit of a douche. Then again, he was a penniless douche before, so if anything, this is an improvement. Ian has remained a penniless douche, watching butt-massage videos on the internet, thinking the girl in the videos is his girlfriend, and being a generally creepy, unlikable, insufferable dude.
Anthony drops Ian off at the arcade after meeting a group of pre-teen stereo types. Before he leaves, Ian gives Anthony crap for having become a square and not liking a game they used to play when they were kids. We are then introduced to the latest volley in Smosh's ongoing feud with Nintendo, the game Ian and Anthony used to play as kids is called "Magic Pocket Slave Monsters." This gag goes on for about twenty seconds longer than it should have been initially, and then winds up coming up throughout the rest of the freaking film.
Let's go over why this joke doesn't work. First off, like I said before, the "Joke" goes on way too long. Second, they do their damndest to hammer their point home, that Pokémon is essentially about animal abuse, which is just not true. Third, everyone's already made that joke! Smosh probably made that joke at one point! Fourth, Smosh has made like ten Pokémon videos that were all individually and collectively funnier than their movie in general and this joke in particular! Even the last video was funnier than this movie, and that one sucked! I know Smosh don't hate Pokémon, if they did, they never would have gotten into their little feud with Nintendo in the first place. News flash guys, it's been a decade since Nintendo took your video down. You are literally the only people who still care about this! I know Nintendo has been building up a lot negative heat with the internet over the years, and lately more than ever. That could have made for an amazing joke if executed properly. But it wasn't. For one thing, they go to the arcade to play the game, when everyone knows that Pokémon was a handheld game. Second, they use a parody of the American Pokémon intro in the attract-mode of the game. The show and the games are two very separate entities, as any casual fan could tell you. Finally, the implications of the game are just absurd. They swear a lot in it, there's obvious animal cruelty in the attract-mode animation (With the Ash Ketchum stand-in hammering home that he's abusing his Pikachu knockoff) which wouldn't have flown in the '90s at all! Supposedly Ian and Anthony played this game as kids, and since they're in their twenties, they would have played it in the '90s. You know, back when people were going crazy about the "nudity" and "violence" in Night Trap of all things! This was the era of overreaction to little things! And when things were not so little, people freaked out even more than they probably should have. If this game was out in the '90s, arcades would have refused to have the cabinet on the floor! Stores would have refused to stock the game! It's called "Magic Pocket Slave Monsters" for gods sake! People would have refused to stock it based on the name alone! That title wouldn't have made it past the marketing department! The worst part is that this sounds like it was purposefully made to sound like badly translated Japanese. As if they don't change weird titles when bringing them to other territories. How does this world even work, anyways? Do they not have any issues with animal abuse in this world? Nobody seems too put off by the lyrics of the song, they just sorta react to it like someone started singing the Bob The Builder theme-song in public at karaoke night. So is animal abuse tolerated generally, or just in the part of the world where the Smosh duo live. Or maybe they couldn't figure out how to not get sued by Nintendo if they referenced Pokémon directly in a theatrically released movie. How does such a stupid joke raise so many questions? Am I just over-analyzing this, or did everyone else come to this same conclusion?
Finally, let's cover the final reason why this joke sucks. It's unnecessarily cruel. Pokémon is a worldwide phenomena, beloved by millions of people across the world, myself included. I'm not the hugest fan of the franchise. I haven't played the card-game in years, I've never watched past Johto, and I haven't played any of the games past G1. But every now and again, I feel like standing up for it, and this is one of those times. Smosh is supposed to be goofy comedy, not mean-spirited dick-waving over something that happened a decade ago. I thought this was dead five years ago when they dropped that dis-track on Nintendo, but I guess I was wrong!
So, that little tangent went on way too long, which is still shorter than the amount of time this joke went on for. Hell, I don't even know if that was intended as a joke or just a straight-up dis on Nintendo's biggest franchise. I can't tell, because this movie jumps around so much.
Anthony leaves the arcade to find the juvenile delinquents from earlier defecating on his car without actually leaving anything on his car. Instead of calling the police, Anthony just drives off.
Later, the boys (Who live in the same house because Anthony moved out of his parents house and into Ian's parents house for some reason instead of just staying in his own parents house for no adequately explained reason) find out that their high-school reunion is tonight. Ian doesn't care about going, but Anthony wants to go there to meet the girl he's crushing on, Anna Reed. Later, they then also find out that an old video of Anthony attempting to sing the "Magic Pocket Slave Monsters" theme-song at their high-school graduation, flipping over, falling flat on the entire front of his body, then falling off the stage onto the microphone. The movie acts like Anthony got a microphone shoved into his anus after he fell off the stage, but the only visible microphone was in his hand at the time, and it's not like he fell off the stage back first. If anything, he'd have been hit in the head with it.
Anyways, Anthony wants to get the video removed so that the girl doesn't see it and be reminded of how lame he thinks he used to be. So, rather than reporting the video through the usual channels, Anthony calls up YouTube (Can you even DO that?) for some incredibly forced "humor" about the YouTube takedown policies which would be funny if Anthony and Ian weren't incredibly rich and successful. Another joke which has been beaten into the ground by better comedians. And by Smosh themselves years ago. Seriously, what the hell? Even if their observational humor wasn't all that original before, they were at least still well timed, well executed, and funny back in the day!
So anyways, Anthony and Ian go down to the local YouTube offices because they think that they can just talk to the CEO of the company directly. Having apparently missed the memo that Google bought YouTube years and years ago, they keep going, despite Ian's protestations (In which he brings up plenty of valid reasons the CEO of YouTube wouldn't see them), to see Mister YouTube.
No, I didn't make that up, and I'm glad I didn't. I wouldn't want to be responsible for more than one specific joke in this movie, but we'll get to that later.
Even though that's incredibly absurd, and obviously wouldn't work because YouTube is a made-up word, not a name! Maybe it's supposed to be one of those old-timey occupation names or something. Who knows. Anyways, they meet a guy named "Steve YouTube". You'd think they would have saved the "Steve" for the guy in charge of Apple, but whatever. Steve tells them that they need to go into YouTube like this is Tron or something, and edit the video from within. He gives them what appears to be a pair of iPhones (Yeah, like a Google subsidiary wouldn't be pimping their Android gear) and send them into a terrible greenscreen effect that looks like the Time-Vortex from Doctor Who, before dumping them into an incredibly forced journey through viral videos. Along the way, their assistants in their phones keep misunderstanding what they're saying. For some reason it's called "Diri" like Siri. Yet another joke that everyone's already made like three times a day on average.
The first video they wind up in is an insurance ad, they then teleport out and wind up in a bear-attack video. They then teleport out of that video into something from a legitimately funny YouTuber. The following minute or so is probably the funniest scene in the entire movie. You see, our idiot heroes spend the next minute of the movie trying to avoid getting killed by a chainsaw-wielding Markiplier. It's the only genuinely funny thing in the entire movie, and I'm not entirely sure why. It might be the fact that our heroes are, as I said before, a pair of idiots in an incredibly stupid situation that's nobodies fault but their own. The general negative comedy of the rest of the movie helps this scene a lot, but it would have been funny no matter what due to Mark's incredibly delivery of his lines. He shows up again later in another attempt to kill the two, and that's on my top four best scenes in this movie. Yes, out of an hour and twenty-one minutes of movie, only four scenes were any good! Even if I was being generous, I could maybe add one more scene. That's how bad this movie is!
After finding out why the mailman doesn't deliver to their house anymore, Anthony and Ian find out that anything uploaded to YouTube can be edited from within, despite the fact that Steve YouTube already told them they could do that! That's the whole reason they went into YouTube in the first place!
They then wind up in a video by someone called Jenna Marbles who's apparently stuck inside YouTube with a copy of herself. I'm not sure who she is, and I don't particularly care. She's just here to tell them that when their phones run out, they'll be stuck inside YouTube. Utterly forgetting that they could just teleport to a video with an iPhone charger in it and plug their freaking phones in!
They decide to split up to cover more ground, and don't think of just logging into Ian's account so they can access his viewing history and go directly to the video because we need to pad this movie out to a decent running time.
Ian teleports to talk to his crush, Butt-massage girl, while Anthony gets stuck inside a furry party. Ian sticks around with the girl, while Anthony winds up in an ice-cream ad featuring Stone-Cold Steve Austin, one of Anthony's idols. Anthony tries explaining his situation to Austin so he can get some kind of advice. Austin tells him to physically beat the girl up, which is funny for all the wrong reasons, while Anthony misinterprets Austin's advice as some kind of metaphor. Austin is left mildly confused by this, like anyone would be in the situation, but gets back to filming his commercial. Anthony winds up in vlog by Anna, where she confesses her love for him. Anthony teleports to where Ian is and admonishes him for wasting time. With only a bit of battery left, they finally show up in the video they were shooting for this whole time. There, Anthony makes a fool of himself, he finds out that Ian was the one who shot and uploaded the video, and they have a fight-scene that consists of their entire viewing history. Forgetting that YouTube doesn't log viewing history if you're not logged in. Which you wouldn't be on a fresh phone.
Ian decides that he needs to stop the video by beating up Anthony's younger self, but Ian's past self intervenes, forcing current Anthony to fight him. Then, the whole graduation party turns into a mosh-pit.
Diri reveals herself to be Steve YouTube manipulating the boys, so they teleport out of the graduation through their viewing history to try and get back to The Time Vortex. Steve YouTube spends like thirty seconds fumbling with his Oculous Rift and VR suit (Couldn't he have just said "We Are VR?") and shows up in the Bear Attack Video to keep the boys from getting out of YouTube. For some reason.
Fortunately for them, the bear attack Steve and they hop into the portal and out of YouTube.
Out in the real world, Ian and Anthony find out that they've essentially become their real-life counterparts. They're rich and famous, they've made a movie, and they have some of the most-viewed videos on the internet. Ian's in a relationship with the butt-massage girl, and Anthony has his own harem. Which he dismisses because none of them are Anna.
They get their tuxedo's on and head to the reunion. Anthony pulls off everything he failed at five years ago, gets the girl by proving he can still be a dork, and Ian marries the butt-massage girl, whose name is Brad.
I started this review by writing "Dead Horse: The Movie" at the top of the page and working from there. Nearly all of the jokes in this movie have been beaten into the ground, either by Smosh themselves, or by other, better comedians. If they're not beating a dead horse joke, they're stealing someone else's punchline. They actually copied "Dick In a Box" verbatim, and Stone Cold basically plays the part of the magic mirror in this movie. If anyone else is reminded of Fred: The Movie, then that would be because that movie also had a wrestler in it as a role-model for the main character.
Smosh used to be famous for their bizarre take on observational humor, but they don't make any funny observations in this film. Smosh, a comedy duo known for pointing out how stupid a lot of movie plots and storytelling devices are, have resorted to those same hackneyed cliches they lambasted so long ago. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Even if Smosh wasn't 100% original before, they were at least funny! In this movie, they steal jokes, the setup, and punchlines from SNL, The Lonely Island, Zero Punctuation, Back To The Future, Bill and Ted, Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged, themselves, and probably a bunch of others I've missed. This whole movie is basically a list of slacker comedy cliches tossed together with internet references, and inside jokes which you wouldn't get unless you remembered every single thing Smosh has done over their decade-long careers. Hell, I've been doing this for four years and I don't remember everything I've ever done.
Also, I'd just like to point out that Ian is using some piece of crap, decade-old Dell PC with a CRT monitor early in the movie. This movie was made in 2014 (To the best of my knowledge) and released in 2015, how did they even get ahold of computer gear that outdated? I'm poor and I've got better gear than that! I haven't owned a CRT monitor in well over a decade. Plus, I actually own one of those old Dell Dimension's, and they can barely play video in 480p. And as far as the onboard sound-chipset, it's a piece of crap. I pretty much only use it for pulling up Wikipedia articles while I'm playing a game on the real computer. Or if I need two things side-by-side without them being squashed. What I'm trying to say is that unless Ian has stuck hardware designed to support something other than Windows XP into that case, he wouldn't be watching videos in high-def.
Also, for a movie released in 2015, they're still using the old YouTube green/red bar for dislikes instead of the new blue/grey bar. I don't know why that is, and I wouldn't be bringing this up if this hadn't been an actual theatrically released movie.
All in all, this movie sucked. It fails as a comedy, it fails as science-fiction, and it fails to not waste eighty minutes of the viewers time. Unfortunately, I find it hard to bring up much active hatred for this movie because it's just so boring! All of the issues I've brought up with the jokes and the story still stand, but above all, this movie was way too slow and way too uncreative.
In the end, this is a solid 2.0* movie. Hopefully next week I can get The Consuming Shadow finished so I can review something good for once. I'll see you then. Sorry this article took so long to get out, I was having a hard time getting anything done on Sunday, and I worked flat-out on Monday and today to get this done.

Image from