The Specials

A very funny superhero spoof, sort of X-MEN meets SPINAL TAP. The titular Specials are known as perhaps the sixth- or seventh-best superhero team around, and have the self-esteem issues to match. Their group headquarters, for example, is a modest suburban frame house in Silverlake, rather than a high-tech super-secret underground lair, and they can't always...read more

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Reviewed by Steve Simels
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A very funny superhero spoof, sort of X-MEN meets SPINAL TAP. The titular Specials are known as perhaps the sixth- or seventh-best superhero team around, and have the self-esteem issues to match. Their group headquarters, for example, is a modest suburban frame

house in Silverlake, rather than a high-tech super-secret underground lair, and they can't always pay their electric bills. But fortune seems about to smile on them; leader The Strobe (Thomas Haden Church) and his team — including The Weevil (a wonderfully faux-sincere Rob Lowe), loose cannon Amok (amusing Seth Green-wannabe Jamie Kennedy), supersmart Mr. Smart (Jim Zulevic), angry Deadly Girl (Judy Greer), lesbian Power Chick (Kelly Coffield), child-like U.S. Bill (Mike Schwartz) and the multibodied Eight (John Doe et al.) — have negotiated an action-figure deal with a toy conglomerate. But at the gala press event unveiling the figures, everything goes to hell. The figures are cheap and exploitative, and The Strobe finds his wife, Ms. Indestructible (Paget Brewster), having a backseat quickie with The Weevil. He impulsively disbands the group, whose members immediately spiral helplessly into dysfunction. Screenwriter James Gunn (who also plays, hilariously, a shape-shrinker named Minute Man — "minute" as in "small"), has a wonderful ear for the conventions of comic books and superhero flicks, as well as real-life family dynamics; his script is not only consistently droll but also oddly believable. First-time director Craig Mazin doesn't bother with a lot in the way of special effects, although when they do pop up they're effective, and you won't get all the jokes unless you're a genuine fan of the genres being parodied. Still, it's hard not to love a film in which a costumed character is embarrassed by her bird powers, powers that include — you guessed it: the ability to lay an egg.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A very funny superhero spoof, sort of X-MEN meets SPINAL TAP. The titular Specials are known as perhaps the sixth- or seventh-best superhero team around, and have the self-esteem issues to match. Their group headquarters, for example, is a modest suburban… (more)

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