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‘Notzilla’ (review)

Produced by Aymie Majerski,
Mitch Teemley, Ekim Relgrem

Written and Directed by Mitch Teemley
Starring Frederic Eng-Li, Tifani Ahren Davis,
Tim Bensch, Samantha Russell, Michael Bath,
Becca Kravitz, Spencer Lackey

 

Very, very silly Airplane!-style parody of kaiju films is incredibly hit-or-miss but may amuse you if you’re in the right frame of mind.

In 1962 at Yomama Bay (nyuk, nyuk) and the Japanese forces are in the midst of destroying a giant, Godzilla-type monster.

Sympathetic paleontologist, Dr. Hiro Honda (nice homage), rescues the monster’s egg and flies to Cincinnati, Ohio to keep the unborn offspring safe.

Alas, poor Dr. Honda accidentally drops the egg into the airplane toilet and it ends up in the Ohio River.

Meanwhile, a group of physicists, including Dr. Richard Blowheart and his assistant, Dr. Shirley Yujest, are experimenting in a nearby underground lab with “uber-fission” experiments.

Soon enough, the physicists and Dr. Honda cross paths and eventually must try to capture the soon-to-be-huge young creature.

As you can tell from the above jokey names, Notzilla is not going for subtle humor.

Shirley Yujest IS a nice double homage – obviously, the name evokes the running gag in Airplane!, while Shirley is constantly correcting people on its proper pronunciation (“YOUjist”), á la Harvey Korman’s exasperated characters in Blazing Saddles and History of the World, Part I.

There are a ton of subtitle gags and ‘we’re in a movie’ jokes throughout, some funny, others not. But give the filmmakers credit for never letting the gags flag.

Tim Bensch does a nice job as the handsome but narcissistic and clueless Blowheart, and while the film certainly keeps them on the same silly level as the rest of the film, his scenes do provide a fun rip on white male privilege.

Frederic Eng-Li and Tifani Winkfield are also good as Honda and Yujest, and their budding romance is genuinely cute and charming.

The effects are intentionally and suitably chintzy, with my favorite being the blatantly visible zipper on the giant monster.

Uneven, scene to scene and even line to line, Notzilla still made me laugh out loud a few times and smile more than groan. Not by much, but enough for me to recommend this if you’re in a giggly mood.

Notzilla is available today On Demand, Digital HD, DVD & Blu-ray.

 

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