Miss Cast Away and the Island GirlsReviewed By David Cornelius
Posted 07/25/05 15:31:31
Here we have a film which stars Eric Roberts, Charlie Schlatter, Stuart Pankin, and Michael Jackson. Sometimes, you can’t make this stuff up if you tried.The movie is “Miss Cast Away and the Island Girls,” and it is, for lack of a better word, an abomination to all mankind. Written and directed by bottom-shelf B movie hack Bryan Michael Stoller (“Dragon Fury II,” “Undercover Angel”), this direct-to-video travesty arrives at a time where I personally thought I could not possibly see anything worse than what I already have; in addition to theatrical disasters “Man of the House,” “XXX: State of the Union,” “Are We There Yet?,” and “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” (just to name a few), I have, in the course of a few short months, stumbled upon the DTV disasters “Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker!” and “H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds,” both of which I noted as being among the very worst movies I have ever, ever seen. Surely, nothing out there could top these selections in terms of sheer badness.
I was wrong. “Miss Cast Away” is - here we go again - among the very worst movies I have ever, ever seen. Please take note that I am not prone to hyperbole of this sort, and that I have seen more bad movies in my lifetime than any reasonable person ever should, so when I say it’s among the worst of the worst, that’s my way of warning you not merely to avoid renting this, but also, if you come across the DVD at your local video store, be sure to back up several feet, just to be on the safe side.
The movie is a “parody comedy,” which is your first sign to run like hell. Next sign: even if you factor in that the thing’s been sitting on some shelf for a year, that still means that the endless references to “Cast Away,” “Miss Congeniality,” “The Green Mile,” “Titanic,” “The Sixth Sense,” “Scream,” and the Tim Burton version of “Planet of the Apes” are waaaaay outdated to be even remotely interesting. (And just so you think this wasn’t conceived in ages ago, there’s a riff on “Lord of the Rings,” too.) This is a film that thinks that casting Evan Marriott, aka “Joe Millionaire,” would be really hip.
The plot, for those who care: a plane carrying contestants for the Miss Galaxy pageant crashes on a desert island. Meanwhile, evolved apes are hatching a plan involving Noah’s Ark and the Perfect Storm, which somehow will destroy the planet. Dopey co-pilot Charlie Schlatter gets word from “Agent M.J.,” working for Pope John Paul II (guess he’s not dead anymore), that since Austin Powers is unable to save the day (oh, don’t ask, unless you’re curious about unfunny copyright infringement), Charlie’ll have to do the job.
Now, let’s talk about the casting of Michael Jackson for a moment. It seems that ever since Stoller made a short film parodying one of Jackson’s Pepsi commercials from the “Thriller” era, the two have been pals. And so Stoller thought it would be cute to have his pedophile buddy - I’m sorry: “alleged, acquited” pedophile - show up in a cameo role (which is meant to spoof his cameo in “Men In Black II,” which itself was a lame response to a toss-off gag in “Men In Black,” making the cameo not clever by three).
The sight of Jackson here is slightly icky, not only because of his recent lawsuit, but simply in the fact that the guy looks downright insane. He’s been facelifted to death, his death mask-like appearance and freakish immobility reminding us just how nuts he’s become over the years. And yet, his scenes are the best things about this movie, as they’re the only moments that provide laughs. You see, Jackson plays his secret agent scenes for keeps, putting deadly seriousness into his delivery, trying like mad to show genuine concern over the fate of the planet. He even does the “whip off the sunglasses to punctuate seriousness” trick! The surreal sight of Michael Jackson delivering a somber warning about Noah’s Ark to Charlie Schlatter, all in a film that thinks calling a guy “Colonel Sanders” is hilarious, well, sir, that’s too much to take.
(A side note. The DVD also includes Stoller’s “award-winning” parody short, as well as its world premiere introduction by Don Rickles and Steve Lawrence courtesy of “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes.” I’m not sure what award this short may have won, but unless the award had “dumbest” in its title, I doubt it was deserved. The short film stands merely to show that Stoller never had a lick of talent, nor did he ever have a knack for comedy. It’s every bit as painfully unfunny as “Miss Cast Away.” Sigh. Some people never change, I suppose.)
Back to the movie. Stoller’s idea of what makes for a good laugh mostly involves images of women in bikinis falling over a lot, cue cartoony sound effects. The dialogue is relentlessly dreadful, with most of the gags coming off as wretchedly as this one: “Good luck with your mission, which we will call ‘Raiders of the Lost Noah’s Ark!’” Wow. Double wow, even. This is a film that includes a dinosaur-sized killer boar (courtesy of the worst CGI you may ever see), which means we get to hear the pun “Jurassic Pork” not once, not twice, but three times. Yes, Stoller was so proud of this bit of wordplay that he dumps it on us three separate times.
Can it get worse? Yes. Yes it can.
Noah (Stuart Pankin, thankful for the paycheck) keeps losing a game of cards to one of his ape captors; his response is to snigger, “Maybe this game should be called Crazy Apes!” Later, we meet a submarine captain named Sgt. Pepper, and when he asks for the periscope to be lowered, a stethoscope comes down on a string. In case you don’t get the joke, the script then has Pepper scream comically, “I didn’t say stethoscope, I said periscope!” The routine is then repeated with a variety of other objects that Stoller found to be hilarious. I don’t recall what those objects were, however, since I was busy looking for a gun so I could shoot my eyes out.
When not relying on the moronic and the laborious, Stoller’s busy being downright obnoxious. His camera drools over the women in the cast (former beauty queens and Playboy models all), lingering on their cleavage as much as possible. Which is fine, I suppose - guys may rent this to catch the jigglefest, and a jigglefest is what they’ll get. But then we get the unfortunate business of Joyce Guirard, playing Julie, Charlie Schlatter’s love interest. Julie’s a hottie, to be sure, but she’s not decked out in caked-on makeup… until later in the film, when she whips back her hair to reveal a more skanky, skeezy Julie. And the script insists on calling her “the now beautiful Julie.” Meaning that not only is Stoller an unfunny hack, but he’s a douchebag as well.
I suppose that if you like your movies to have Austin Powers rip-offs involving “can you hear me now?” cell phone jokes, then yeah, you might think “Miss Cast Away” is a “hoot.” If this is the case, chances are good that Hooters is your favorite restaurant, Gallagher is your favorite comedian, you own the DVDs of all them new movies Leslie Nielson has been making, and you have “Git-R-Done” tattooed on your bicep. More power to you, my friend.
But the rest of you, stand clear. The bombs featured within are quite deadly indeed. This is a work that insults the word “insipid.” It is a piece that celebrates idiocy. It is ineptitude on a grand scale. It is one of the most excruciating cinematic experiences of my life. It is an exercise in terribleness.So yeah, you might want to skip it.
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