Slap “National Lampoon” on something and at the very least you expect it to have a semblance of a humorous premise. This film has some chuckle-inducing moments, but overall it’s too stylized, too bloody (it’s actually the most violent comedy I’ve seen in a long time), and too boring. To quote Talking Heads, “This ain’t no party.”
The plot, which is at times muddled, centers around the aftermath of the destruction of America as we know it. Like a phoenix, though, New America arises from its ashes in 2097, with Tex Kennedy (Kevin Wheatley) set to help steer it on the right course. With his robotic partners, Yule (Chandler Parker), who has a human heart, and Quincy (Paul Whitty), who can regenerate; Cannibal Sue (Jamie Bullock); and a prophet, he sets out on a trek to get things rolling. Nothing goes smoothly, however, with it all coming to a head when the group gets to the Threshold of Hell and meets the spawn of Satan.
With choppy editing and flashy character introductions that are intrusive at best, this film drops the ball every time it gets it. It’s rarely funny, and one big action sequence goes from live action to animated, which by this point in the film one is supposed to believe is because it’s just kind of cool to do that, but I imagine it was handled that way because it was out of the scope of the special effects team’s expertise.
The National Lampoon brand hasn’t really delivered passable comedy in quite a few years, so that’s not where the disappointment with this film comes from. It comes from the idea that this could have been a great movie. It shows real promise, and these two directors demonstrate some superb skills… that are sorely misplaced here. I could see the people behind this moving on to some incredible projects, but the conclusion of this film just leads me to believe it will be more of the same. That conclusion? These four words: “End of Part One.” I’d rather see some brand new idea that’s more fitting of the talent here, because the filmmakers proved they can’t be trusted with this one.