There’s no use getting overly indignant in response to the news that Lionsgate is developing a Meatballs remake; though I enjoy the Ivan Reitman original for Bill Murray’s inspired riffing and the charisma vacuum that is Chris Makepeace (to be fair, he’s much better in Tony Bill’s underrated My Bodyguard), it’s not a particularly strong movie. Reitman’s direction is just this side of perfunctory (he says indicating the half of his desk with the Harvey Pekar bobblehead as opposed to the half occupied by the bottle of Crib Malt Liquor), while the supporting cast is excessively Canadian in the wrong way (I don’t have time to explain this, which is fortunate because I doubt whatever I came up with would make a lick of sense). With very few exceptions, the big laughs are supplied by Murray, who hopefully alleviated his boredom by plowing his way through the female cast during the thirty-day shoot (while carefully avoiding the homely chick who played Roxanne).
But, for those of you who care, if the Meatballs brand name could withstand the ignominy of the three barely-related sequels that followed (beginning with 1984’s E.T. takeoff, Meatballs Part II), I’m sure its memory won’t be tarnished by Lionsgate’s in-development remake, which has been assigned to the writing team of Sean Anders and John Morris (they’re responsible for something called Never Been Thawed). Hell, maybe they’ll come up with something that equals the original on the page. If they do, expect their hard work to be undone by John Whitesell of Malibu’s Most Wanted infamy, who’s currently being courted to direct.
Some of you still might want to get up in arms over this one. As someone who grew up believing Reitman’s Meatballs deserved a spot in the pantheon alongside Animal House and Caddyshack, I understand this. But I’d caution you to save your outrage for a worthwhile target, especially since one is on the way.
How does a remake of Slap Shot strike you?