Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Movie Review: Big Ass Spider! (2013)

There's really no introduction needed for today's movie. It's called Big Ass Spider! (exclamation point included) and whatever crosses your mind when you imagine a movie with that title, you're probably right. But don't be thinking anything bad, though, because Big Ass Spider! is actually pretty great and a movie that is incredibly fun to watch.

Exterminator Alex is a guy who ends up being in the right place at the wrong time when a body shows up at the hospital carrying a spider that is bigger than anything he's ever seen. With the help of a hospital security guard, Alex starts tracking the spider, along with the military, through the city as it continues to grow to epic proportions, the result of some accidental interaction with alien growth hormone.

As the title implies about itself, this movie understands what kind of movie it is and plays to that expectation every chance it gets. Right off the bat, the movie hides nothing from us, as it starts with a flash forward to the end when the enormous spider is fighting off helicopters at the top of a skyscraper (hm, I wonder what that is a reference to), all with some sweeping slow motion and a ballad playing over it that has nothing to do with what is happening on screen. After that the fun really starts, even as the movie goes through the usual motions of meeting the characters and setting up the plot. Though it's not exactly laugh-out-loud funny, the movie keeps up a constant humorous tone throughout, even through some of the more mundane scenes. I know I had a smile on my face practically the whole time I was watching it.

Alex Mathis is my kind of everyday nice guy, played adorably by Greg Grunberg. Lombardo Boyar plays his enthusiastic sidekick Jose, who is responsible for most of the comedy. Other important roles are Ray Wise as Major Braxton and he expertly delivers each line like only an awesome B-movie actor could. Clare Kramer (wahoo for a Buffy reference! She was the Big Bad in season five, Glory) is Lieutenant Carly Brant, the requisite hot chick in a power position role. I saw in Buffy that she has a knack for comedy so I was a little disappointed that they didn't use that much of her full talent here. My only real problem with the movie is that the requisite love story between Alex and Carly felt so incredibly forced, and nothing about it was believable. These two characters had hardly any interaction with each other and by the end, they are in love and kissing. It's like the filmmakers felt like they had to give the nice guy a girl at the end, so they just kinda said, "yeah, these two totally like each other! Don't you see it?" Eh, not really.

Being the horror nut that I am and given my usual reaction to movies like this, my favorite part of the movie has got to be when the spider rampages the park. We get an excellent introduction to this scene by none other than Lloyd Kaufman himself, who plays a random jogger that falls victim to the spider. After that, utter chaos ensues as the giant arachnid plows its way through as many park-goers as it can. It grabs people with its web and quickly eats them (I'm not sure that's biologically correct, but I am so over such trivialities at this point in the movie), and uses its legs to stab several people through the chest. What makes this scene even more hilarious is the gaggle of girls who provide the TandA of the film, as they are playing volleyball in a family park wearing practically nothing.

The poster really says it all, people - Big Ass Spider! is exactly what you'd want; it's hilarious; it's a great time at the movies; and yes, it is even surprisingly clever. It doesn't always take the obvious plot turns when you think it will and its great cast help make the unbelievable seem believable. Big Ass Spider! is definitely one to pick up for a fun movie night.

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