If you wanted to meet these Spartans on the level of ordinary film criticism, you'd say Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer chose the most obvious subtext of the movie 300 -- the latent homoeroticism suggested by the bronzed bodies and skimpy outfits -- and flogged it repeatedly through 101 gay jokes. However, rarely does a Friedberg-Seltzer movie achieve a level deserving of ordinary film criticism, especially one that's so bereft of content that the credits start rolling at minute 67. Perhaps even more so than the rest of their catalogue, Meet the Spartans lives (or rather, dies) off its cavalcade of anachronistic pop-culture references. With some, you can see what they were trying to do -- relating various aspects of a sword-and-sandal epic to today's popular reality shows and game shows, such as America's Next Top Model and Deal or No Deal. With others, it's entirely random, like when Ghost Rider and Rocky Balboa show up during the climactic battle. There are vague, distant seeds of intelligent satire embedded in this movie, like the acknowledgement that a giant pit of death serves no functional purpose in the layout of the Spartan royal fortress. It's when Leonidas (Sean Maguire) begins kicking Britney Spears, Kevin Federline, and the panel of American Idol judges into this pit that the boneheaded execution of those "ideas" becomes clear. Worse than the illogical moments are the moments that are both illogical and gross, as when Leonidas fights a dancing penguin from Happy Feet, who poops on his face and makes him lick his icy white testicles. While actors like Carmen Electra and Kevin Sorbo are likely living off their paychecks from Friedberg and Seltzer, talents such as Diedrich Bader and Jim Piddock should be able to do better. It would be almost impossible to do worse.
by Derek Armstrong review