After six weeks co-teaching a series of film classes in Hong Kong for a group of young New Mexico filmmakers, I’ve returned to the land of Enchantment, refreshed, revitalized and eager to give Alibi readers the scoop on crapola like Beverly Hills Chihuahua. (Oh, boy.)
Spinoffs from advertising campaigns aren't all that rare. A recent example is the short-lived "Caveman" sitcom based off the GEICO commercials. Or the slew of fast-food mascots turned movie- or video game stars (the most successful being 7UP's 1993 Sega Genesis game Cool Spot, in this reviewer's opinion). And it's all too common to see blatant product placement on the big screen; this was best demonstrated (via parody) in both Wayne's World movies.
Hollywood making fun of itself on screen is a dicey prospect. Occasionally, it can produce high-quality zingers (1992’s The Player, 1995’s Get Shorty, for example). But, more often than not, it ends up as unfunny, in-joke-filled navelgazing. (Have you seen 1993’s The Pickle? Of course you haven’t. Don’t.) Leave it to Ben Stiller and pals, though, to come up with a poke in the movie industry’s eye that is both accurate and blisteringly, brutally funny.
No, it's not a musical episode of the original, British "The Office," including such great hits as "Free Love Freeway," the best worst song you ever rocked out to. Chorus: