Carmen Electra, Sean Maguire and Kevin Sorbo in 'Meet the Spartans'

Carmen Electra, Sean Maguire and Kevin Sorbo in 'Meet the Spartans'

What's the point of making a parody that's dumber than the stuff it parodies? "Meet the Spartans" panders for cheap laughs at the expense of just about every vulgar excess in present-day pop culture. But it also wallows in the slop it denigrates to the point where the movie is all but indistinguishable from its dopiest targets.

Worse, this knucklehead spoof of "300" can't even keep up with the rising and falling fortunes of such "they're so over that even saying 'they're over' is over" phenomena as Dane Cook, whose movie doppelganger has to be identified out loud so that the audience understands who's being tossed into the pit of death. If a satire can't count on its audience to figure out such things for itself, what's the point of satirizing it at all?

Then, too, if you already thought "300" seemed like something of a parody, it's probably not going to bother you much to see Sean Maguire and Kevin "Hercules" Sorbo as Spartan warriors flashing their pecs, grinding their teeth and trading "your momma's so fat" snaps with street kids recruited by King Xerxes (Ken Davitian, the fat guy from "Borat," whom the movie willingly identifies as the "fat guy from 'Borat'" in case you needed to know).

And if the pop-culture references aren't enough to make you laugh--and, just so we're clear, they're not--there's plenty of glandular discharge to fill in the gaps, including a cat doing his business on the carcass of a Sandman-like Spartan senator named Traitorio (Diedrich Bader). Which is no less disgusting than the excessive product placement that's supposed to make fun of product placement but ends up doing what product placement's supposed to do in the first place.

Is this too "meta" a consideration for a movie this lightweight? Sure is. Tell you what. It's the middle of winter. Just stare at Carmen Electra, call it a night and find something good to read. Now there's a real antidote to pop culture.

Get showtimes and movie details for "Meet the Spartans."