Smosh: The Movie [MOVIE REVIEW]

Since 2005 smosh has been a major influence on the entire landscape of YouTube which is why it is quite surprising it took them this long to produce their own feature film. YouTubers producing their own feature film is not necessarily a good thing however as just because you are a popular figure online does not mean you are capable of carrying a feature length story. A question remains though, does the Smosh guys manage to pull it off?

After the release of quite a terrible trailer, things were not looking good for this movie. Sure some hardcore fans were probably ready to eat up whatever they were given but even for people like me who never had a problem with Smosh and quite enjoy a lot of what they do from time to time (that said I have not watched anything they have done on their main channel in years apart from the Food Battles). I even enjoy some of the things they have to offer on their other channels too so I was definitely not ready for a trailer that felt so poorly structured and did not really have anything interesting to offer. The little excitement I had was only thanks to the writers behind the movie who have written things I enjoy (recently; 'Blue Mountain State' which I just published a review of) so I was kind of hoping for it to actually feel like a movie starring Ian and Anthony with a clear cut beginning, middle and end that manages to offer some clever gags and an interesting story that still manages to stay true to the content Smosh has on their YouTube channel. This is sadly where the main problem lies however. There is a bit of a Catch 22 that 'Smosh: The Movie' sadly became a victim of. On one hand they would be better off staying 100% true to the content they have on YouTube with all the other side characters involved somehow (That Damn Neighbor, Boxman, Teleporting Fat Guy and Ians' mom), a lot of Smosh fans would definitely enjoy this - however everybody who are not fans would have no idea what was going on and just end up confused. On the other hand they could just stick to the characters of Ian and Anthony and write an entirely new storyline about something completely different in order to try and get a wider audience to watch it. The problem here though is that a lot of people would still not want to pay and see a movie called 'Smosh: The Movie' and the fans who does will most likely not be entertained enough because it is so radically different from what they usually create (Ian's mom is not even played by Ian's mom) and is just an extremely by-the-numbers plot that plugs in all the elements you would usually see in a comedy but having no idea how to make them work.

The problem with the direction this movie took continues right down to the characters of Ian and Anthony. Fans of the two knows their personality fairly well (at least how they act on screen) from their various vlogs, gaming videos and behind the scenes videos. When it comes to their short films on the main channel, they are not acting entirely like themselves (obviously) and the characters they were portraying were never three dimensional people - which worked fine for those short films as they were never really supposed to have some kind of character driven stories, it was more just them involved in some kind of situation. What has happened in 'Smosh: The Movie' is that the writers have written laid back and more grounded versions of those cartoon characters in the short films - but they still remain cartoon characters because they are never given any development apart from the most basic and comically overused archetypes possible. If you are writing a Smosh movie you have to figure out whether you want to use the real life Ian and Anthony as the characters for your film, if you want to use the short film characters of Ian and Anthony, or completely new characters with different names starring Ian and Anthony. They went with a mixture between the cartoon and the real people which clearly did not end up working.

To give this film some props, some of the jokes worked (and some failed spectacularly) and they made a good choice of not including some really emotional moments because Ian and Anthony are not great actors (which does not matter for their short films) and it would probably just end up being comical.

Despite my praise of the other projects the writers of this film were involved with earlier - you can probably tell by now that I am not a fan of the screenplay here. In fact I would have to say that the screenplay to 'Smosh: The Movie' is downright terrible. Just the idea of Ian and Anthony going inside of YouTube to get rid of a video is not something worth making a feature length film out of. I can imagine the duo making this into a regular short 7-8 minute film but stretching it out to 84 minutes just ends up feeling redundant after a while and the longer they spend in that situation - the more questions you as a viewer start asking about the logic behind the whole thing. I know pointing out actual logic in what is essentially a feature length smosh video is unecessary as it does not really matter but this is still a movie (it is in the title) and a movie has rules that it follows. They establish that whenever they end up in a video - they can replay that video which essentially removes everything they did and restart it. In the very next scene though we see Anthony telling Ian they need to hurry up before a certain moment in the video occurs... what? Really nothing in the YouTube section of the film makes a whole lot of sense. If I were to film a video, edit it, upload it to YouTube and then go inside of YouTube to change it by adding another version of me interrupting whatever I was doing originally in the video - would that be something that happens in real life when I am filming it or would it only be in the video? Is every video supposed to be like a memory in the Harry Potter series were you can revisit it later and watch it like a spectator (except this time interact with everybody involved)? Nothing here really adds up and you just end up beating yourself with a bat for trying to bring logic into this movie when the writers clearly did not.

You have also just got to wonder why they even went with the YouTube idea in general. The short films they make rarely ever brings up the website at all and it just ends up feeling like a cheap gimmick "The real life versions of these characters make videos on YouTube so we shall have the plot of the movie involve YouTube in some way". Then of course committing the worst crime of all by being predictable and not very entertaining.

The CGI is not impressive even for a YouTube video as I have seen even Smosh's short films that have more convincing effects. There is a point in the film were the duo encounter a bear inside of YouTube and as they are running away there are shots were the bear is downright missing behind them. The worst effect though is when they are entering the world of YouTube were it just comes across like the most basic green screen effect. 

You think I am done talking about the script? Nope that detour into the effects was just a break before my final point. The entire plot is filled with lazily written exposition, there are tons of conveniences to get the plot moving and the whole conflict ends up being virtually non existent. Basically the whole reason why Ian and Anthony even go inside of YouTube is because an embarrassing video of Anthony appears on the site and becomes viral right before a 5 year anniversary with their old classmates - including a girl Anthony wants to bone. It turns out though this girl was really into Anthony back in the day because of how nerdy and clumsy he was so when he attempts to get with her she is not interested because he is trying to not be like that anymore. This kind of twist has been done successfully before but never in a way that renders the entire movie pointless. It also does not help the fact that we never get to know anything about the girl Anthony is interested in and we already barely know anything about Anthony as a character in the film so we have no real investment in this potential relationship.

Overall, this movie is a mess that is completely let down by a terrible screenplay. Ian and Anthony deliver fine performances for the most part but we do not get to know enough about their characters so we do not end up caring about what happens to them. The entire conflict is utterly pointless, the effects look worse than what we get from their YouTube videos and I cannot imagine people who are not fans of Smosh enjoying it at all and I cannot even imagine fans of Smosh enjoying it as much as they probably should because of how much it distances itself from their other work. 


- Lucas


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