When the movie you're mocking is unintentionally funnier than the one you made, you've got a problem.
The bloated, dumb mess that is "Fifty Shades of Grey" -- with its unsexy, trying-way-too-hard sex scenes, endless cliches and shoddy acting -- seems like the perfect target for a "Scary Movie"-style spoof, but the movie is so bad that it's nearly impossible to outdo its awfulness.
So the task before Michael Tiddes is daunting. How do you ridicule the ridiculous? Instead of coming up with creative solutions, Tiddes plays it straight, pretty much recreating the movie scene for scene, exaggerating the existing silliness while interjecting cheap sight gags and rough slapstick wherever possible.
Example: When mousy college student Hannah (Kali Hawk) first approaches the antiseptic office door of reclusive playboy millionaire Christian Black (Marlon Wayans), Tiddes looks to play up Hannah's tredpidation. Hannah has trouble opening the door, so she hits it, pulls on it and eventually slams her body into it like a battering ram, coincidentally at the exact moment Christian opens it up, making her stumble into the office.
Not funny. Similar escapades occur when Christian initiates Hannah into his world of wining, dining and ever-so-sweet sadomasochism with a spanking session that escalates into WWE-style stool-bashing.
"Fifty Shades of Black" could have had some fun at the expense of the source material with cultural comparisons, but Tiddes chooses this, of all areas, to soft-pedal, as though he's being super careful not to offend anyone. An odd choice for a film that plays fast and loose with bodily fluids and grotesque sex gags.
There probably isn't a way the movie could have worked, but you see flashes of competence every now and again. Hawk emulates the overblown meekness of "Grey's" Dakota Johnson, and Marlon Wayans is having so much fun sinking into the role of the aloof pervert that you half hope he manages to will the weak material to competence.
What few funny moments there are in "Black" are funnier in "Grey" when you're laughing with, and not at the dumbness. The abuse that Hannah endures as she slinks into Black's world has got nothing on what the audience is in for.
RATING: 1 STAR OUT OF 4.