Filmmakers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer ran out of gas a long time ago as aggressively madcap movie spoofers. (Not that they had much in the tank to begin with – remember, we’re talking about the pair who gave us “Vampires Suck,” “Disaster Movie” and “Meet the Spartans.”) But they’re still spinning their wheels, even while stuck in a rut, and continuing to produce lamely unfunny drivel such as “Superfast!,” a low-octane goof on the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Much like “The Starving Games” (2013), heretofore the nadir of their careers, their latest opus is receiving only a limited theatrical release — during the opening weekend of monster hit “Furious 7” — concurrent with its VOD debut. But, really, some theatrical releases can never be limited enough.
This time out, Friedberg and Seltzer keep their freewheeling pop-culture digressions to a minimum, preferring to concentrate almost exclusively on the primary object of their affliction. Trouble is, it’s hard to make fun of a franchise that already has embraced enough outrageous excess to qualify as self-parody. Indeed, it could be argued that, by this point in the “Fast and Furious” series, Dwayne Johnson can earn more laughs with a few seconds of artful eyebrow arching than Friedberg and Seltzer manage throughout the entirety of their mercilessly protracted 99-minute comedy.
It may come as a relief to anyone who samples this swill that the filmmakers refrain from making jokes of any sort about tragic death of “Fast and Furious” mainstay Paul Walker. On the other hand, they don’t do the late actor any favors by representing his signature Brian O’Conner character as Lucas White, a clueless undercover cop who must transcend his conspicuously Caucasian orientation to infiltrate a multiethnic gang of car thieves, illegal auto racers and Bed, Bath & Beyond gift-card counterfeiters.
Alex Ashbaugh appears to be channeling Jim Carrey in “Dumb and Dumber” mode throughout most of the movie as White wins the confidence of Vin Serento (Dale Pavinski), the bald and burly gang leader; Michelle (Andrea Navedo), Vin’s main squeeze, whose sexual ambiguity is intended to be screamingly hilarious (but isn’t); and Jordana (Lili Mirojnick), Vin’s sister, a fuzzily defined character that barely passes muster as caricature.
The filmmakers come up with the mildly amusing idea of filling out the gang with generic types identified only by their labels: Cool Asian Guy (Chris Pang), Rapper Cameo (Rogello Douglas Jr.) and Model Turned Actress (Chanel Celaya). And to give credit where it is due, supporting players Dio Johnson and Omar Chaparro warrant an approving smile or two for their industrial-strength overplaying as, respectively, a well-oiled hardass cop named Rock Johnson (get it?) and a Hispanic crime boss with anger-management issues.
Time and again, however, “Superfast!” takes aim at easy targets, and misses by miles.
Film Review: 'Superfast!'
Reviewed at AMC Gulf Pointe 30, Houston, April 4, 2015. Running time: 99 MIN.
A Ketchup Entertainment release of a 3 in the Box presentation of a Safran Co. production. Produced by Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer, Peter Safran. Executive producer, Hal Olofsson. Co-producers, Sanford Hampton, Dan Clifton, Kenny Yates.
Directed, written by Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer. Camera (color), Shawn Maurer; editor, Peck Prior; music Tim Wynn; music supervisor, Jojo Villanueva; production designer, Jodi Ginnever; costume designer, Maressa Richtmyer; sound, Zsolt Magyar; assistant director, Michael Etheridge; casting, Lauren Bass, Jordan Bass.
Alex Ashbaugh, Dale Pavinski, Lili Mirojnick; Andrea Navedo, Omar Chaparro, Dio Johnson, Shantel Wislawski, Gonzalo Menendez, Chris Pang, Rogello Douglas Jr., Chanel Celaya.