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pump some iron

Meet the Spartans

Meet the Spartans is a 2008 parody film directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Similar to past movies, such as Scary Movie, Epic Movie and Date Movie, it pokes fun at various movies. Although it references many movies, TV shows, people and pop cultural events, it focuses mainly on the 2007 "historical" war film 300. The film is rated PG-13 in the US and 12 in the UK for crude and sexual humor throughout, language, and some comic violence.

Plot

The film opens with a Spartan elder inspecting a baby which resembles Shrek. The baby vomits on the inspector and is then rejected and punted off the hill. With the next baby in hand, the narrator says as it is Vietnamese, Brangelina gets first dibs. Baby Leonidas is then inspected, having a six-pack, biceps, and beard from birth. He is accepted as a Spartan and prepared for kinghood through his childhood training, from fighting his grandmother to enduring James Bond-style torture at the hands of Le Chiffre. Leonidas (Sean Maguire) is then cast out into the wild, and survives the harsh winter while killing a giant dancing penguin. Returning a king for his inauguration ceremony, Leonidas sees Margo (Carmen Electra) dancing and asks her to marry him, to which she responds by giving him the combination to her chastity belt.

The film then fast forwards to where the story begins, opening with Leonidas training his son, until Captain (Kevin Sorbo) informs him that a Persian messenger (bling and all) has arrived. The messenger has come to present Xerxes' demands for Sparta's submission. Leonidas arrives to greet the messenger in the Spartan way (high-fives for the women and open mouth tongue kisses for the men). After growing angry with the messenger's disrespect, Leonidas kicks him, the messenger's bodyguards, and then several other people he simply disliked, ranging from Britney Spears (Nicole Parker) and Kevin Federline (Nick Steele) to Sanjaya Malakar (Tony Yalda) and the American Idol judges. As Leonidas walks off he turns to a column, that has a switch that reads "Garbage Disposal", and flips the switch causing the celebrities to spiral to their "death".

Resolving to face the Persians, Leonidas visits the Oracle, proposing an "erotic-sounding" strategy to repel the numerically superior enemy after offering the priests various skin-care lotions for guidance. The Oracle, Ugly Betty (Crista Flanagan), reveals that Leonidas will die should he go to war. That night, Leonidas and Margo then decide to "pump some iron" before Leonidas leaves for Thermopylae, which in fact is just Leonidas bench pressing his wife one hundred times. Leonidas then goes out to meet the soldiers assembled for his departure, and finds that only 13 (not 300) were accepted in the army, since there were stringent specifications to be accepted (one of which is having a Mediterranean tan). Three among them include Captain, his son, Sonio, and a slightly unfit Spartan named Dilio. Once at the Hot Gates, they encounter Paris Hilton (also played by Parker), who Leonidas rejected from joining their army due to her mild deformities.

Leonidas and his platoon soon face off with Xerxes' messenger and his Immortals, beating them in a dance contest before driving them off a cliff. Xerxes (Ken Davitian), impressed, personally approaches Leonidas and attempts to bribe him in a Deal or No Deal fashion. Despite the soldiers' encouragements, the Spartan king declines, saying that he will instead make the "God King" fall. The Spartans then face the Xerxes army in a "Yo Momma" fight, ending with a victory, in spite of Dilio having his eyes scratched out. Though victory seemed to be in the Spartans' grasp, Paris Hilton betrays the Spartans and reveals the location of the goat path to Xerxes, having been promised her hump removed among her various demands. Using a CGI army, Xerxes meets the 12 remaining Spartans and the war is on.

Meanwhile, back in Sparta, Queen Margo sexually submits to Traitoro in order to persuade him to send more troops to assist Leonidas. He states that he will finally lose his virginity while using his cell phone to take pictures. However, he reveals publicly that she has not been chaste. The anger at this revelation provokes a symbiote suit to envelop her, mirroring the parasitic symbiote Spider-Man suit in Spider-Man 3. She fights with Traitoro, who, in line with the parody, becomes the Spider-Man 3 villain the Sandman. Margo wins the battle with a vacuum cleaner - and Traitoro's treachery is revealed, whereupon Sparta agrees to send more troops. However, the Spartan decision to send troops comes too late, as Xerxes and the Persian army fight the Spartans, who refuse to retreat. The battle initially starts well for the Spartans, but the tide turns as the Persians introduce their secret weapons: Ghost Rider, who is quickly defeated, and Rocky Balboa, who decapitates Sonio with one right hook but getting killed by a vengeful Captain, who plunges a Botox-laced syringe into his head. Captain then gets killed by a spear, thrown through his torso by Xerxes.

Captain's death enrages Leonidas, and the battle sequence switches to a Grand Theft Auto-esque format as he runs through the Persian Army and corners Xerxes. While running away, Xerxes finds the "Transformer Cube" and harnesses its power to combine with a convertible and turn into "Xerxestron", playing "Leave Britney Alone" videos to prove his "godly power". But Xerxestron ends up delivering on Leonidas's promise to "fall", as his power cord disconnects and he falls forward, crushing the surviving Spartans under his bulk. Thus the narrator concludes, "Leonidas was true to his word: a god-king did fall ... but unfortunately, right on them!" The blind Dilio, who left prior to the final battle, eventually returns to Sparta to tell of Leonidas' final moments. A year later, Dilio leads a force a hundred real Spartans and several thousand CGI-ones to defeat the Persians, but the blind warrior ends up going the wrong way and leads the Spartans to Malibu. They end up crashing into Lindsay Lohan as she once more leaves drug rehab, causing her to expose her bare groin and fly off screen.

The film ends with a musical number set to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" performed on American Idol by all of the characters in the film. It also spoofs Britney Spears' VMA's comeback performance.

Cast

Four of the actors in Meet the Spartans also appeared in Epic Movie. Carmen Electra played Mystique, Jim Piddock played Magneto, Jareb Dauplaise played Nacho Libre, and Crista Flanagan played Hermione Granger.

Parodies

Critical reception

The film received incredibly negative reviews from critics. As of May 19, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 2% of all critics gave the film positive reviews and 0% positive reviews from top critics based on 41 reviews with an average rating of 1.8/10; citing consensus opinion on the title as "A tired, unfunny, offensive waste of time ... [which] scrapes the bottom of the cinematic barrel." Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 9 out of 100, based on 11 reviews — indicating "extreme dislike or disgust" and being the worst received film by the director on the site.

One reviewer in Scotland's The Sunday Herald gave the film a score of zero, as did Ireland's Day and Night while an Australian newspaper review described it as being "as funny as a burning orphanage". In London, The Times reviewer Wendy Ide suggested that the producers of the film were not aiming for 'laughs' but "a simian grunt of recognition from an audience that must have been practically brain-dead to fork out £10 to see a film that can’t even master the concept of out-takes?". Currently, this film is the lowest-rated of the 2008 film season. Most of the film's criticism consisted of not having many actual jokes and instead having an overreliance of pop culture references. Several recurring gags were criticized for being overused, such as throwing various celebrities down the Pit of Death or the ambiguous homosexuality of the Spartans.

Upon news of Meet the Spartans box office success, The Soup staff created a sketch that parodies all previous "Parody Movies" by mentioning the film's weak comedy stunts.

The film currently holds a rating of 2.4 out of 10 at the Internet Movie Database.

Box office performance

Despite the overwhelmingly negative critical reaction (the film has a 2% "Rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes), the film opened #1 at the US box office, grossing $18,505,530 over its opening weekend, narrowly edging out fellow newcomer Rambo, which was briefly parodied in the credits of this film. The film grossed $38,233,676 in the United States and Canada and grossed $45,787,889 in foreign countries adding to an international gross of $84,021,565.

DVD release

The film was released on DVD on June 3, 2008. It was released in a "Unrated Pit of Death" Edition and a PG-13/theatrical release of the film, as well as a Blu-Ray release. The theatrical cut will not include extras but will include widescreen and full screen versions on one dual disc. A "ruder & cruder" version was later released in the UK on August 18.

See also

References

External links

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