Initially, the trailer for The Onion Movie showed some promise. It seemed like an entirely derivative lift of Kentucky Fried Movie, but, Jesus Shit, we really need to bring that back. Kentucky Fried Movie was a brilliant mix of topical comedy and smart, bawdy sketches. Less so, there was Amazon Women On The Moon, which brought the same topical comedy to the late 80's, but with a more dodgy balance of humor and significantly less brilliance. On the upside, though, it had a good budget, a wealth of eager directors, and a slew of big-name actors willing to ham it up. If Amazon Women was a retread of Kentucky Fried, then The Onion Movie is an even more diminished retread of Amazon Women.
"The Onion", as a satirical website, newspaper, and a series of books is nothing less than a touchstone of comedy. That this movie shows none of the wit, cutting humor, or intelligence of The Onion is a fucking shame, as The Onion's name and concept is plastered all over it like a NASCAR sponsor.
Helmed by the writer/directors of "Tokyo Breakfast", comedio-racist web phenomenon of the early 2000's, and a couple of nobody writers that worked for The Onion, the results are desperately patchy despite far too many good cameos by comedic character actors and celebrities. The comedy is, at best, amateurish and desperately unfunny, not even managing a smug chuckle. The scenes often go on far too long for far, far too little and the jokes aren't very funny by even the lowest standards. The overall tone, quality, and many of the topical elements seem more appropriate for some mildly-funny late-90's independent parody movie. (The parodies of Britney Spears' early career definitely feel somewhat less than "fresh".)
There may be an explanation in the fact that the movie has apparently been in the works for 5 years, losing directors and writers along the way, and recobbling old footage together along with new material before being shelved and dumped onto DVD. Perhaps it would have been in the best interest of all to just throw the whole damned thing out and start over, as what came out was surely not up to the par of even the last direct-to-DVD National Lampoon releases, the biggest name in satirical writing in the 1970's and the spiritual father to The Onion. It's seen better days and has narrowly escaped complete death many times and, if The Onion isn't careful, they'll soon be joining the National Lampoon.
Kentucky Fried Movie never would have so sloppily and ham-fistedly connected idiotic and boring sketches with long-winded and pathetic "satirical" segments. Even as long as the middle martial arts parody segment of KFM was, it never stopped delivering funny jokes. The Onion Movie never even starts delivering jokes. It's a sad day when Steven Seagal punching people in the dick is the highlight of your film...
And it's also a sad day when kids with video cameras and YouTube accounts can demolish a humor institution like The Onion at sketch writing without even a fight.
Ignore this film's existence and just buy the DVD's of The Whitest Kids U Know instead. Or stick to The Onion on the web. You'll actually get some real comedy out of it.