"Brain-damaged and insipid, and I don't mean that in a good way."
Since any Hollywood idea that hasn't been done in over twenty years is suddenly deemed "fresh and original", here's the latest "old Chinese kung-fu flick that's been overdubbed by a young comedian". Last time it was Woody Allen with his somewhat inspired What's Up, Tiger Lily? This generation is now offered a decidedly dumber version that makes Mad Magazine look like The New Yorker. You'd have to search far and wide for a movie as gleefully stupid as Kung Pow, but you'd never find one so bereft of laughs.As a rule, the "fart" sound can be employed to hilarious effect in the hands of a gifted comedian. (Mel Brooks' campfire scene in Blazing Saddles would be the perfect malodorous example.) When the South Park guys use their Terence and Philip characters to satirize the purely prurient humor so evident in today's 'comedies' the "I farted, you farted, who farted?" dialogue works as parody. When misguided comedian Steve Oedekerk chose to produce, direct, and star in the interminable Kung Pow, he was obviously under the impression that just saying "fart" over and over would somehow prove to be amusing.
Rare is the bald-faced farce that works so hard for so little returns. Oedekerk (the screenwriter behind comedies like Patch Adams, Ace Ventura 2 and The Nutty Professor) must have grown weary of writing gags for other comedians and set off to create himself a comic cult character in the Ace Ventura vein. What Oedekerk failed to realize is that as a comedy star, he's no Jim Carrey. He's not even a Mariah Carey.
The gag here is that Oedekerk has inserted himself into a corny old kung-fu flick and re-recorded all of the dialogue with some wacky (I said wacky, not funny) voices and strained attempts at D-grade poopy jokes. Not content to merely spoof an already self-mocking film, Oedekerk also injects his own jokes, most of which involve a talking tongue, a woman with one breast and a cow that knows all the Matrix moves. Not for a lack of trying, but the hapless Oedekerk manages to make not one iota of it worthy of one good laugh.
Sitting through Kung Pow is a lot like babysitting a hyperactive child who fancies himself the next Carrot Top. You'll be amazed by his non-stop and frantic efforts to get your attention, you may even smile and chuckle politely out of sheer decency, but ultimately you'll either fling the child across the room or simply run screaming from the room.Of course there will always be a place in movies for brainless lowbrow humor, but it's important to makes the jokes actually WORK. Simply trotting out an 87-minute barrage of limp and lazy punch lines isn't gonna cut it. All the clever CGI tricks in the world can transform weak material into something amusing.