The Hungover Games (2014)

(On Cable TV, January 2015)  The floor has fallen so low under expectations for parody films in the wake of half a dozen disastrous Feidberg/Setzer abominations (including the similar The Starving Games), that The Hungover Games doesn’t feel all that bad despite, in fact being remarkably crummy.  Part of the fun, at least in the first half-hour, is in seeing the film set up a preposterous mash-up of The Hunger Games and The Hangover, somehow managing to do so with a bit of style.  The three lead actors bear a remarkable resemblance to the stars of The Hangover (Ben Begley and Herbert Russell are particularly good as “Ed” and “Zach”, while Rita Volk does fine as a Katniss knock-off), and the special effects are noticeably better than what one could expect from a film with such a low budget.  There are occasional flashes of wit in the way it actually does try to comment upon Hollywood stereotypes.  There is acknowledged unnecessary nudity, a trio of Johnny Depp impersonators, a bargain-basement version of Ted and an attempt at a storyline. (Added metafictional points for having a character figure out their situation with Suzanne Collins’ book in hand)  Things get a bit worse in the last half, as the story peters out into a dream sequence (OR WAS IT???), an extended unfunny underage sex gag, fewer returns on the initial investment and far too much reliance on The Hunger Games’ plot.  But it’s a notch better than The Starving Games, and at this point I’ll take it.  Serious movie viewers may want to abstain, but those with a low threshold for dumb fun may enjoy bits and pieces of The Hungover Games.

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