Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I don’t know if this is true or not but I read somewhere that this movie was filmed late in the year 2003 for a theatrical release but shelved due to rating very poorly with test audiences and only brought back five years later for an unheralded Direct to DVD release. This is good for me because that makes ‘The Onion Movie’ eligible to be on my TV show Totally Twisted Flix, which I can guarantee with almost 100% certainty that it will make an appearance, but it still has me curious. You see I’ve seen the movie and I don’t know if they changed anything with its content in the five years it’s been rotting away on some studio shelf but the movie did make me laugh at points and also made me cringe at points, but it was STILL funnier than the Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg disasters ‘Date Movie’, ‘Epic Movie’ and ‘Meet the Spartans’ COMBINED. Sometimes it feels as if we’re picking on Mr. Seltzer and Mr. Friedberg but I’m not, and even if I were they’re multi-millionaires and I’m flat broke so I’m sure they could deal with it, but their shitty movies get a theatrical release despite the fact I’m pretty sure they tested poorly too, but this far less shitty movie gets shelved for five years. I just don’t get it.

Based on the irreverent website ‘The Onion’ which was way more popular in 2003 than in 2008, but still holds plenty interest, ‘The Onion Movie’ is a series of sketch comedy bits thinly disguised as fake news stories stitched together by an incredibly threadbare storyline in an effort to make these sketch skits into one reasonably comprehensible movie. The story that is sandwiched between the skits concerns Onion senior Anchorman Norm Archer (Lou Cariou) who is becoming increasingly disillusioned as the Onion’s humongous parent company, through the shows brain dead producers, are shoe horning their penguin mascot and incessant ads for their new Steven Segal flick ‘Cock Puncher’ in the middle of Archers hard hitting news stories.

What exactly are these hard hitting news stories? For one there is the in depth interview with the Brittany style pop sensation Melissa Cherry (Sarah McElligott) who defends her songs against attacks that they are too sexual in nature despite the extremely suggestive music videos and titles such as ‘Take me from Behind’, ‘Down on my Knees’ and my personal favorite ‘Shoot your love’ which I plan to rock on the Archos the minute it becomes available. With lyrics such as ‘Shoot your love all over me, drown me in a milky sea’ how can you go wrong? Other bits consist of Michael Bolton showing up in one of those ‘help the children’ type ads, a story covering the trial of a white negro who will be going to jail for armed robbery, a skit on terrorism which is in incredibly questionable taste, a running commentary on the film by various film critics and racial groups including probably one of the more offensive but also the funniest quips issued by an Asian American character. There’s way more… way more, and eventually the story does lead somewhere where a hard working anchorman must either find a way to side with his ideals or side with the Cock Puncher!

As is the case with most movies that are based on sketch comedy skits, some of the stuff works and some of the stuff doesn’t work with the final question being does enough of the stuff work to warrant me recommending that you see it, as if anybody on planet listens to gatdamn thing I gotta say. For me personally speaking it’s a push. There were some funny parts in this to be sure like the Masked Gunman bit and the Melissa Cherry music videos but there was a whole lot of groaner material as well, particularly a Role Playing Gamer sketch went on way too long as was way too unfunny. The Steven Seagal Cock Puncher bit was hilarious and we do appreciate Mr. Segal not taking himself all that seriously in participating in this little send up but they sure did beat the hell out of that one joke pony.

What this really makes me question is why this movie was shelved for five years, particularly after seeing the trailer before hand which really had me wanting to see this movie. I don’t know jack about movie marketing but I’m thinking if you have a decent trailer, even if your movie sucks ass, then you’re still halfway there. My guess is that the tasteless terrorist jokes came too close on the heels of 9-11 and they probably figured it was too large a part of the movie to simply be cut out. Again I hate to pile on ‘Date Movie’ and its awful follow ups, but those movies got released and made multiple millions of dollars and this was waaaaaaayyyyyy funnier that those movies, and this was only marginally funny. I wouldn’t want to sit through ‘The Onion Movie’ a second time, say like I’ve sat through ‘The Naked Gun’ on numerous occasions, but it wasn’t so bad to sit through once and had enough irreverent humor in it that should make even the biggest sourpuss among us laugh a couple of times.

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