Area Man cannot find his good socks

Talk has been flying around for ages about The Onion Movie, with the internet suggesting that it was filmed back in 03, but has just been sitting around gathering dust. Wikipedia, the most reliable name in research, can't be wrong. But patience being the virtue that it is, the film is finally getting a DVD release this week. Hooray!

The site has been an internet favourite for as long as the internet has been around. I remember working at a boring job in central London, where I'd paste the stories from The Onion into a Word document, print them out, and then read them on the Tube on the way home. And this was like ten years ago! The film plays out some of the most memorable stories from the Onion vaults - remember this, this and this - and throws together a loose narrative around the sketches, involving corporate interference at a news network. The veteran anchor isn't happy with being interrupted by Global Tetrahedron's mascot penguin marching out over his serious headlines. (That is not a sentence I expected to use today, but now I hope to use it again tomorrow).

There are sketches, news stories, commercials, public interest stories and periodic reviews of the film so far. It's all over the place, but they manage to satirize successfully and more often than not, with pretty funny results. Targets include public impressions about race, sexuality, obesity, government, obsolete technology, prison overcrowding, military recruitment... I could go on.

One of the less successful sketches involves a role-playing game focused on rape - it reminded me of the legendary Brass Eye episode that got all those complaints, only less subtle. Another is a send-up of heartwarming news stories about a man in a wheelchair who is good at sports, which lasts for ages and isn't particularly funny.

That said, there's a running gag about jailbait popstar Melissa Cherry, whose songs are patently not about sex, and that is very funny. Also great is the running trailer for the 'Ow, My Balls' style new movie 'Cockpuncher'. Amazingly, the ending of the movie actually draws a lot of these strands together for a kind of cool last scene, and the phrase "Film critic intellectuals are a bunch of gaywads" comes up. There's a couple of "too racy to include" clips at the end, one of which involves a nun having a drink - say no more.

So, The Onion delivers with a satirical film that doesn't always work, but when it does, it's really funny. It's good!


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