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National Lampoon's The Legend of Awesomest Maximus



Joining 305 and Meet the Spartans to compose a trifecta of terribleness is National Lampoon's The Legend of Awesomest Maximus, which finds time also to spoof the likes of Troy, Gladiator, Braveheart, Alexander and TV's Spartacus, yet fails to conjure a single good gag. Example: Instead of a Trojan horse, we get a Trojan penis. Ha ha! I mean, ha ha! (Anybody?) Ha ha!

Starring as Awesomest Maximus is MADtv alum Will Sasso, the poor man's Kevin James, himself the destitute hobo's Chris Farley. The overweight, sex-crazed character is out to protect the kingdom ruled by his father, King Looney (Rip Torn, TV's 30 Rock), which requires him to utter playground-level dialogue like, "Oh, suck my awesome balls!"

All of the energy seems to have been expended on creating "funny" character names, including Hottessa, Ginormous, Milfia, Testiclees, Pervius and Minoritees. The latter is played by Tony Cox, the African-American little person perhaps best-known from Bad Santa. He's here because the screenwriters apparently found it necessary to include a fried chicken joke.

Repeat: a fried chicken joke. It's as if director Jeff Kanew was still stuck in the mindset of 1984, when his lone hit, Revenge of the Nerds, treated its black character with equal scorn.

Awesomest Maximus really isn't "about" anything. It's a lame string of bits involving blow jobs, strip clubs, Viagra, ass waxing, incest, rape, Down syndrome, penis size, two dozen nicknames for "vagina," and a morbidly obese naked woman slathered in goat fat sitting on Sasso's face.

Then there is the parade of "homo" jokes. There is a difference between poking fun at 300's supposed homoeroticism and flat-out being homophobic. With repeated utterances of "pansy" and "faggy" as insults and/or punch lines, the script is practically a frat charter.

That's not comedy. But since not one moment among 87 minutes qualifies, either, at least the movie is consistent. The National Lampoon brand continues its slide past irrelevance, making its very meh Van Wilder a comedy classic by comparison. —Rod Lott

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