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The Unexpected Similarities Between SpongeBob 2 and Expendables 3

I didn't mean to make a double feature out of SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water and The Expendables 3, but parenthood makes for some interesting days.


And maybe that alone would account for my less-than-thrilled reaction to both movies - I was certainly feeling exhausted after toddler-wrangling all day and it didn't get any better once she was in bed and I started the R-rated half.  Even so, after finishing The Expendables 3, I realized I had the exact same complaints about both movies.

Neither one is an appropriate length.  Both squander a promising first act by going to strange, boring places in the second act.  Both go into the third act with more characters than they know what to do with.  Both suffer from having its bloated cast of characters fighting for attention (sometimes literally), each of whom gets a moment in the spotlight, yet ultimately accomplishes very little.  Both have Antonio Banderas acting like a spaz and being funny for the first minute and then gradually looking more and more tired of his own schtick.

SpongeBob can at least get something of a pass for being a kids' movie, even though it didn't quite have the effect on Lulabelle I was hoping for.  The Expendables, though?  Dude, you need to thin that fucking herd.  I counted at least 10 white guys.  You can get by with just 4.

Of the two, I have to admit that SpongeBob was the bigger disappointment even though it was the better movie.  Leaving the show out of the discussion - I'm not enough of a fan to know all the ins and outs - the first movie was a surprisingly compact movie with a perfect three-act structure even though it took time to screw around and act goofy.  Sponge Out of Water is much looser with its logic.  There's actually a point in the movie around 40 minutes in or so where you can clearly see that the writing staff said, "Ah, fuck it," and instead of carrying on with the premise it has established, it just starts throwing every possible idea it can come up with at you, including a cringe-inducing Epic Rap Battles of History.

(Side note to my friends who may be reading: please stop showing me Epic Rap Battles videos.  I don't mean to be a dick, but that series stopped being funny as soon as white rap became legal.)

I know that Hollywood logic and marketing dictates that sequels need to be bigger and more outrageous, but I'm looking forward to the day when somebody gets it right and exchanges grandiosity for something slower, more intimate, and more revealing about the characters.  Not that I expect that SpongeBob has too many layers to peel back, mind you, but wouldn't it be neat to see an Expendables 4 where it's just like three of them (excluding Stallone) who are trapped on a desert island and you get to know them a little more?  Nobody would expect that, but it would end up being the best one.

I'm just starting to ramble now.  I need to lie down and recover.  Maybe tomorrow I'll try to get Lulabelle to sit still for Wall-E and Robocop.

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