4 Stars
Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 15 minutes
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Maybe it’s the lack of sleep or the thin Park City air, but I’m simply compelled to give the highest star rating to a farce featuring Charlie Sheen. Seriously though, “Spelling Bee” is a supremely silly and damn near perfect spoof of that great American institution of the title. It’s no “Hot Shots” or “Major League”. Sheen hilariously deadpans as himself, or the “spelling enthusiast” version of himself at least. Along with the peppy play-by-player (Anna Faris of “Scary Movie” fame), the two preside over the highly prestigious Stearns-Thomas Spelling Bee, the Super Bowl of spelling bees, if you will. (And believe me, you will!) Perennial favorites are back in the cocky Sultan of Spell, the lispy Queen Bee, and the gawky Jewish kid Abram, known as the Brad Pitt of the spelling world. But this year there’s a wildcard in the mix in the form of little Jimmy (a very talented Drew Mikuska). This kid’s perfected the use of rudimentary mnemonic devices that are anything but rudimentary: at any moment, a banal spelling exercise may morph into a spectacular production number (dancing girls and all) on 50-centers like “giardiasis” and “xylariacea”. (The insanely catchy songs are courtesy of Gabriel Mann.) As spoofs go, Phil Dornfeld’s “Spelling Bee” is highly original and sublimely ridiculous, Mr. Sheen and all.

Posted on January 28, 2005 in Reviews by

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