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Cigarette Burns: Super-Mega-Death-Match-Team-Up-Showdown-Throw-Down-athon

Bombastic titles aside, I think it’s time we addressed the issue of the cinematic ‘team up’. With The Expendables (2010) now on general release (it’s every beefcake action hero from the last 20 years…together…all sharing the same grunt space!) and The Avengers (2012) movie on the horizon (it’s every Marvel action hero that isn’t an X-Man…or Spider-Man…together…all wearing spandex!), we need to think about the awesome power of the crossover/team up.

Comics have long been aware of this phenomenon, choosing to lob whoever in with whoever, in an attempt to boost sales. However, movies are seemingly only just coming around to the idea. In the case of the forthcoming The Avengers film, it’s taken Marvel constructing their own film making division to make this possible. Before now, different film companies bought the rights to different franchises, meaning a team up was not so much unlikely, but impossible. Now they’re all housed under one roof, like a steroid-ridden version of The Waltons. They’re now able to cross pollinate, and geeks like me get a reason to hang around until the end of the credits just for a snippet of info and the barest glimpse of a hammer or a shield or a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative who looks like Samuel L Jackson.

In the spirit of this, I’d like to suggest a few more team ups for both the big and small screen. What would happen if the downbeat, middle-aged men from BBC2 sitcoms formed a super-group? We’re talking Tom Hollander from Rev, Steve Coogan from Saxondale and Jack Dee from “That Jack Dee thing where he’s not supposed to be Jack Dee”. Lob in Robert Lindsay as the Dad from My Family in a fleeting cameo (‘Susan! Michael! Nick’! etc. etc. etc.) and why not have Miranda Hart from Miranda swing by in a nymphomaniacal role and you’ve got slow, smiley (if not actual laughter-inducing) entertainment as the leads all realise they’re passed it and no one cares:

MARVEL as they drink tea! STARE as they grow old! LAUGH as you remember something funny you once heard elsewhere: Meet “The Herbal Blend-ables“.

Now pause to consider what would happen if the smart-alec wise guys from various action movies team up. Chris Tucker and Will Smith are two wise cracking, buddy cops. With no straight man between them, it’s a laugh a minute. They’re joined by Chris Rock, who brings the jokes to the next level as a ‘snitch’ who needs witness protection. Unfortunately, his idiot brother, an incendiary Eddie Murphy, tags along for the ride. Soon enough, all four of them are cracking jokes and doing impressions of each other. With a cameo from Kevin Smith and co-starring Ryan Reynolds and Woody Harrelson as the redneck criminals out to get them, this laugh-a-minute ‘goof-off’ is what happens when you only cast smart-alec, wise guy actors:

GUFFAW as Tucker and Murphy’s voices get higher in pitch as they argue! CHORTLE as the Tucker, Smith, Rock, Murphy powerhouse rolls on! PONDER at the stereotyping of black actors in Hollywood: Meet “The Offend-ables“.

Now allow yourself into the shadowy world of nepotism and enjoy “When Directors Who Can’t Really Act All Cast Themselves In a Movie“. Quentin Tarrantino and Eli Roth are a bar-man and an ex-special forces soldier respectively. Their paths cross when a drunk Kevin Smith (played by a sober Kevin Smith) places an advert in the paper as he’s looking for a team to go after a legendary cache of Nazi gold. Nazi sympathisers Vincent Gallo and a truly evil Jon Favreau are out to stop them while a lost and confused M.Night Shyamalan pops up to suggest that not everything is as it seems… especially the last 20 minutes. Spike Lee also stars as a smart-alec, wise guy. With joint directing credits between the entire principal cast, this film is greater than the sum of its parts, exploding in an orgy of meta-fictional-back-patting-aren’t-we-so-clever-ness:

SHRUG in indifference as each turns in a sub-par performance! WONDER how so many egos can fit on the screen at any one time! CHEER in delight as a joint directing credit means they all have to leave the Director’s Guild, meaning this movie can never win any Academy Awards…ever: Meet “The Pretend-ables“.

Now, take a long hard look at yourself as we look at the possibility of “Everyone That’s Had a Well Publicised Public Meltdown In The Last Few Years Gathering Together To Pour Scorn On Ex-Wives, Ex- Husbands, Boom Operators and a Big Mac“. Mel Gibson plays ace attorney Chuck Steed. When his ex-wife records numerous tapes of his aggressive phone calls to her and uses them as evidence against him, only Benjamin Moist (played by Christian Bale), a fellow ace attorney can get him off the hook. However, when Benjamin Moist’s career is thrown into turmoil by the threat of his ex wife Cassandra Moist (played by Britney Spears), exposing a cassette tape that details him going ‘mental’ at a court room typist who moved into his field of vision, only sofa jumping super attorney Brad Henley (played by Tom Cruise) can start the chain of events that gets them all off the charges. As Brad gets closer to Cassandra, the whole case is threatened but a counter charge leveled at Cassandra by her ex-lesbian lover Shlarm (played by Lindsay Lohan). David Hasselhoff guest stars as a drunk on the floor, eating a Big Mac. Kanye West play a smart-alec, wise guy who…

GAZE in horror at how close to the bone this meta-fictional stuff is, considering the very real events these things are clearly based on! SHAKE your head in disbelief as everyone comes out of this labelled a “misunderstood genius”! GATHER up your belongings and vow never to come back to a cinema or watch a movie ever again: It’s time to meet “The Undefend-ables“.

It’s surely only a matter of time…

Alex Riding