Directed by Ryan Griggs
Starring Justin Whalin, Sam Lloyd, Ryan McPartlin
Lions Gate Pictures
Release Date: July 21, 2009
Super Capers tells the tale of superhero wannabe Ed Gruberman (Justin Whalin). When Ed’s parents are murdered by a mysterious assailant, he decides to dedicate his life to fighting crime despite the fact that he has no super powers whatsoever. After getting sued by a criminal he assaults, the judge orders Ed to join Super Capers, a group of bumbling superheroes in training. It is there that Ed’s adventures in crime fighting really begin and of course hilarity ensues.
Well, the hilarity would have ensued had the script been funny. For about an hour and a half, I sat there watching this movie with a blank expression on my face just wanting to laugh but not seeing anything on the screen to help me do that. The jokes were flat and just not funny, period.
Writer/Director Ryan Griggs strikes out twofold. First of all, he is one of those directors who likes to put himself into movies he’s directing. Now this is all fine and dandy, I mean many directors put themselves into their films more times than you know. Those directors though, take non-speaking or cameo roles, whereas Greggs gives himself a full role to play. While I could have looked over that if he brought something to the table, he looked too out of place to be in the movie and his delivery was not there.
He also doesn’t do any better as a writer. The movie just didn’t feel like a complete story. It just felt like Griggs was trying to pay homage to everything that he loved as a kid, story or no story. From comic book movie references to Back to the Future tributes, this felt more like a love letter to the things he loved as a child but without a story or substance to hold those ideas in place, it just feels unorganized and half baked. The only part that made me smile was when the credits started to roll and the theme song to the Greatest American Hero played (Best. Superhero. Theme. Song. Ever.)
Now this is not to say that Griggs is terrible. He does redeem himself as a director. I like his camera style and how unobtrusive he is when he is directing. There are no special effects or camera tricks used to tell a story. It is just good old fashion “point and shoot type” of directing. I also like the overall look and feel of the film. From the obvious set pieces to the man in the rubber Minotaur suit, it has that “filmed in a backlot of Warner Bros Studios” feel to it and it goes well with the tongue in cheek script.
He also has a good eye in casting, gathering up a talented group of actors for the film. Most of these actors you would not know but name but you certainly would recognize their faces. Whalin, best known as Jimmy Olsen from Lois and Clark, does all he can to make Ed a lovable loser and pulls it off for the most part, but the deck is stacked pretty high from the beginning. With not much to work with script wise, his acting could only elevate the material so far before it comes back down to earth.
Other TV stars from the past and present include Sam Lloyd (Ted on Scrubs), Christine Latkin (Step by Step), Ryan McPartlin (Captain Awesome from Chuck), and even Adam West (Batman) all appear in thankless roles and more often than not come out the same way Whalin does. I really wanted to like this movie but any movie that can make Sam Lloyd only a little bit funny is not using his talents properly. I mean, the character he plays in the movie is basically his character in Scrubs but with superpowers.
The DVD is filled with extras from a making of featurette, a handful of trailers, and even a director commentary. None of these are particularly interesting to anyone who does not like the film though. It is interesting to note that when the actors come off funnier in the featurette than the movie itself, that is never a good sign.
Super Capers is not a bad film by any means. The directing is solid and the cast is pretty good considering all the actors invovled usually play supporting roles. The main problem is that the movie is just boring and does not work. It is a comedy that is not funny and that is a greater sin than just being a terrible film.