Not since David Zucker's "Top Secret!" have the comedic possibilities of a milk cow been exploited so successfully.
When Steve Oedekerk star, director and writer of kung fu movie spoof "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist' takes on a black belt bovine, the other-worldly ridiculousness of the bout momentarily takes the viewer out of an otherwise vapid, nails-on-chalkboard movie.
Not since "Freddy Got Fingered" has a major release been so painful to sit through.
Going where Woody Allen's "What's Up, Tiger Lily?" went before, Oedekerk dubs new dialogue into 1976 kung fu flick "Tiger & Crane Fists" but does Allen one better by digitally inserting himself into the film. Splicing the old footage with new degraded footage made to look like grainy '70s film stock, Oedekerk achieves a technical feat inside this comic monstrosity.
As the Chosen One, Oedekerk must avenge his murdered family and defeat the evil Master Pain, who later in the film changes his name to Betty for no real or funny reason. Like David Carradine in "Kung Fu," Oedekerk walks from village to village seeking to reconcile his past and fight anything with leather wristbands and a scowl.
Oedekerk cut his comedic teeth writing soggy, gross-out comedies such as "The Nutty Professor" movies and "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls." But in tackling the martial arts genre, fertile ground for parody, Oedekerk comes up empty.
In the tradition of self-conscious parody film such as "Airplane!" and "Scary Movie," Oedekerk zeros in on easy comic targets, overplaying the jarring camera moves and melodrama of kung fu films. Even Oedekerk's own English dialogue doesn't match his lip movements.
Banking on non-sequiturs and general silliness, Oedekerk's repetition of love interest Ling's (Tse Ling Ling) vocal quirks initially inserted to cover up extra lip movements reflects Oedekerk's tin ear for comedy
His villains have temporary tattoos and fight to soundtracks of Sir Mix-a-lot's "Baby's Got Back" and M.C. Hammer's "Hammer Time," but these giggle-producing details turn into groan-inducing tortures when done over and over. And over.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun