"The Onion Movie" DVD Review
June 12, 2008 by James Harvey
I can remember hearing about this movie for ages, I think as far back at 2004 or so. And, after very little coverage or even notice, The Onion Movie has arrived on DVD. Now, this is something that will definitely split fans of the famed publication. Will it actually live up to the high comedic standards it set so many years ago, or just fail terribly and languish in mediocrity? Well, I can definitely see how this could go both ways, I really do. But, in the end, what side does The Onion Movie fall on? On par with their best materials, or will The Onion Movie be something ready to be made fun of? Once we get the synopsis out of the way, I'll give my two cents on the matter.
This just in...The Onion invades DVD! Based on the wildly popular satirical newspaper hailed by The New Yorker as “the funniest publication in the United States,” The Onion Movie brings you uncensored, uninhibited, unrated news and views from around the world. And in a stunning development, when Onion News anchorman Norm Archer (Len Cariou) is asked to compromise his journalistic integrity to please a new corporate sponsor, he doesn’t just get mad, he gets...angry. Taking aim at pop stars, party games, prisoners and peace talks, The Onion Movie delivers hard-hitting headlines—and side-splitting laughs!
It's tricky when doing a movie that is, basically, compiled of nothing but sketches. There hasn't been a good sketch movie since Kentucky Fried Movie, and that was over thirty years ago. So, on top of that, and the fact that the material for which The Onion movie is based on is world-renowned, it's an understatement to say that this movie has a lot to live up. And well, I can't say it quite lives up to The Onion, especially in the publication's heyday, but that still doesn't mean this movie is a failure. Far from it, actually. It just happens to be a little bit uneven. Again, this isn't any type of monumental failure on the movie's part. Sketch movies, or even sketch series, are just hard to pull off, and it's difficult to get a solid winner for every single sketch.
But, just so you know, this isn't a review condemning the movie. In fact, I liked what I saw. The Onion does a great job at giving the satirical finger to news, and this movie does the same. It takes a firm slap at the ridiculous aspects of the news, basically, well, the majority of what we see on TV, and plays it straight, which leads to probably some of the best gags. When it sticks to the news, the movie excels, but some of the other gags can get tiresome. Whether it's reporting about a sexy singing sensation, one man losing his socks, or just the rampant one-liner headlines that pass by quickly, The Onion Movie does a great job in giving us all of this news with a straight face. Every sketch may not be an absolute winner, but still, it's a funny movie.
I still find it hard to believe that this movie has been just sitting on the shelves for years, apparently both the creators and studio unhappy with the final product. To an extent, I can definitely see why they'd want to retool the movie the bit. It could definitely use some fine-tuning, but, still, I think the final product is worth watching, at least for fans of The Onion. It could definitely use some polishing, and it does s how its age a little bit. There's definitely some risqué material, some offensive material, but it's handled well and that helps gives this movie an edge over other recent spoof/satire movies. The Onion Movie definitely comes Recommended, but maybe for just a rental. It's funny, and given the 80-ish minutes run time, you won't feel as though you've wasted your time.
(And besides, the "Steven Seagal as Cockpuncher" running gag is worth checking out, no doubt about it.)
Fox Home Entertainment has provided a screener disc of The Onion Movie to review, meaning that the disc is somewhat incomplete. There is no packaging whatsoever, no label on the actual DVD, and the video transfer is also incomplete (due to a copyright insignia that appears every few minutes). So, I can't offer any true review on what the DVD has to offer until a retail copy of the movie comes available for us to review.
For what is available to review, mainly the bonus features, there are so me, but not much. There's a handful of deleted scenes, which would have been better off staying in the movie given the feature's short run time, and some outtakes. The disc is rounded off with some previews and that's it. Not a massive collection of extras by any means. The DVD's menu system is simple and easy to navigate, so getting to these extras should be no problem whatsoever.
Overall, The Onion Movie is definitely worth checking out, at least for a rental, but I'll have to give this a Recommended stamp of approval. Like I said, a few of the sketches do fall flat, but the movie really does excel when it sticks to parodying the news straight on. Plus, you just can't beat something like "Steven Seagal as Cockpuncher." Seriously, it's awesome. True, the previews you may have seen for the movie might have spoiled it, but it's really worth checking out. The extras may be a bit slim, but, regardless, the main feature is worthy by itself. It's a bit uneven and rough (much like this review), but it still delivers the laughs. I can't help but think that if both sides were able to come to an agreement on the movie, The Onion Movie may have warranted a bigger release. It certainly does deserve it.
The Onion is now available on DVD.