The Specials (2000)
Plot: One of the lower tier superhero organizations, ‘the Specials,’ disbands after their leader (Thomas Haden Church) finds out his wife (Paget Brewster) is cheating with fellow member the Weevil (Rob Lowe) and that the new line of action figures promoting the group are a complete farce. The various members wonder what their futures will now be, and if the group can get back together in this comedy.
This is basically an R-Rated Mystery Men with a lower budget. This is a bit more grounded in reality as you never see anyone really use their powers. These people seem real and it’s a true character piece as the film just uses the superhero culture as a backdrop, and for the most part it works well. Sometimes the jokes go on way too long and it feels like a mediocre Saturday Night Live sketch. The characters and performances are pretty damn funny, most notably Jamie Kennedy (Amok), Rob Lowe (Weevil), and Judy Greer (Deadly Girl). Some of the characters are really bad though and brought the movie down significantly. I didn’t care for the U.S. Bill (Mike Schwartz) who’s whiney and stupid, but most importantly not funny. And I didn’t like the random green alien (Sean Gunn) who jumps around making noises and can barely speak. They really could have done without this, as it really distracts from the good stuff going on. There is kind of a plot here, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. But that’s okay. Like I said, it’s about the characters, and there is good camaraderie among everyone even with all the tiffs they have. The best aspect of the film is how they make fun of the commercialization of superheroes. There’s a great moment when we see one of the heroes from the successful organizations wearing a nipple suit. That’s pretty funny. The length is just enough. They don’t stretch out the premise, which is what I think hurt Mystery Men. The film definitely has its flaws, but the good stuff is really fricking good.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: Jamie Kennedy as Amok
-He’s fricking hysterical. I kind of wish the whole movie was about him. He delivers brilliant lines and is just one of those likable assholes. A reformed villain, I love when he talks about how he was once involved in a plan to give the world scabies.
Worst Performance: Thomas Haden Church as the Strobe
-I’ve never been a huge Thomas Haden Church fan, and he’s just ‘meh’ here. As the main character, he holds a lot of weight, and I just didn’t feel for him like I did the other characters. He’s not bad, but I think someone else could have stepped it up.
Best Line: “No one wants to hear your boring fucking origin story.” –Amok to the Strobe at a group meeting
-Perfect delivery. And the look he gives is priceless. I love Jamie Kennedy in this movie.
Worst Line: “With super powers comes super responsibility.” –the Strobe
-Only because it makes me think of that stupid constantly repeated line from Spiderman. Wait a minute…this came out in 2000, Spiderman was 2002. Interesting…
-There are none, except Deadly Girl punches Ms. Indestructible at one point. She gets a black eye. Isn’t she supposed to be indestructible? That’s weird.
-The new Specials recruit, Nightbird, finally reveals her to power to Weevil. Her power is too…lay eggs? I know it’s intentionally supposed to be weird, but still…laying eggs? WTF.
-The Specials action figure commercial is hysterical. The jokes are just flying everywhere. There’s puns, added weapon accessories, and they even make one of the toys African American as an African American kid in the commercial explicitly says, ‘he’s special just for me.’ Wow. I can’t do this scene justice. Just hilarious.
-U.S. Bill goes home to his mom. He notices a shadow on top of her head and points out how it looks like a hat. They laugh about it for almost a full minute. This was what I mean about some of the jokes going on for too long.
-Here’s another quote from Amok about starting a new group; “I got a name for the group. The Fuck Kills. Our motto would be, ‘you think you’re bad, Fuck you! We’re going to kill you.” Hahahaha, the Fuck Kills.
Bad Ass Moment:
-There’s a character called ‘8’ in the Specials who can be 8 different people. The concept is kind of bad ass, although it could have been executed a little better.