Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Mockbusted #19: "iSteve" Review
I don't know if this even technically counts as a mockbuster, but fuck it, I haven't had the chance to do one of these in a while, so here goes. I typically make the distinction with mockbusters that a movie can't just be a rip-off, but one explicitly designed to take advantage of another film by fraudulently riding the wave of its predicted box office. iSteve, the first feature length film by the writers behind FunnyOrDie.com isn't so much a mockbuster in the Asylum vein as it is a straight up parody that just happened to have been released months before the movie it was parodying. Said movie was a marginal disappointment, while its satirical twin is nothing short of a full blown disaster. Had this not also been the year I saw the Shamwow Guy's movie, I would have easily declared this to be the worst comedy film of 2013, and that's a year that included Identity Thief and The Hangover 3! If websites were truly held accountable to the promise of their names, than every one involved in making this piece of shit would be dead right now.
iSteve is a supposedly comedic look at the life and career of Steve Jobs as played by one of the most overrated and undeserving actors on the planet, Dodgeball's Justin Long. Interestingly, the film was supposedly written in just three days and shot in five, which as a wannabe indie filmmaker is something I would ordinarily admire for its anarchic spirit. The thing is, that's only impressive if the movie is at least watchable. I'm not even asking for great here, but frankly, anyone could write and film a movie this shitty in a week or so, and most of them, assuming they were intending to write a comedy, would presumably remember to throw in at least a few jokes here and there. That's the problem with this movie: its not even that it tries and fails at humor. It doesn't try. Aside from one legitimately somewhat amusing reference to the film Jeepers Creepers, the closest this movie gets to even trying to be funny on purpose is having all of the characters speak with a slightly exaggerated seriousness to denote that they are somewhat aware of their own historical importance. That's it.
Above I obliquely defended the film as at the very least not as bad as Vince Offer's crapterpiece InAPPropriate Comedy, but the more I think about it, the more I think iSteve might actually be worse. It certainly isn't as offensive, but it may be more offensively unfunny. To its credit, InAPPropriate Comedy is still a comedy, even if it is directed at horrible people who find racism and homophobia hilarious. I might not find it funny, but there are people in the world who would, whether they deserve to have a subset of comedic cinema devoted to them or not. I can't fathom the audience for iSteve that would actually laugh at any of it. Whether you love or hate Apple, or love or hate Funny Or Die, there is just nothing to hold onto as worthwhile in this movie. The closest I came was Jorge Garcia's often silent sorrow as the perennially overlooked Steve Wozniak, and the fact that the guy who does the voice of Thaddeus Venture from The Venture Bros. is in it. Not that either of them were given anything to work with mind you, just that they were there for me to not hate like I did everything else in this movie.
I can't even say that iSteve would have worked as a Funny Or Die short, and was just drawn out too long. There is no individual segment of this movie or imagined truncated version that would even qualify as comedy, let alone one funny enough to accept the challenge of being funny or dying. I can only guess that with Ashton Kutcher's movie, and the upcoming Aaron Sorkin penned biopic coming next year, that these guys just started with the premise that this subject would be rife for parody, realized too late into the process that they didn't have anything amusing to say, and then just said "fuck it" and kept going. Its as if the idea of Justin Long playing Steve Jobs interacting with another actor playing Justin Long in the Mac commercials was so seemingly hilarious just as a concept, that they figured plodding through an hour of laugh-less crap to get there would be worth it. It isn't. This movie was released for free on the Internet, and I still want my money back. They apparently delayed the release for a few days initially in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombings, and while there is nothing in the movie that specifically evokes that tragedy, I can definitely say that watching iSteve made me angry enough at America and its freedoms to consider resorting to terrorism.
Wait till the Prism software gets a load of that one out of context.