Film Review: ‘The Starving Games’

The Starving Games Review

This latest stillborn spoof from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer is a slapdash, desperately unfunny attempt to mock 'The Hunger Games.'

Under normal circumstances, a failed comedy titled “The Starving Games” might inspire punny put-downs like “malnourished script” or “unappetizing gags.” But, really, a movie as lame as this one doesn’t merit the expenditure of snark. Suffice to say that it is the latest stillborn spoof from filmmakers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (whom you may remember, if not forgive, for “Disaster Movie,” “Meet the Spartans” and “Vampires Suck”), and it seems even more slapdash and desperately unfunny than their earlier work. Already available on VOD, the pic is making a fleeting appearance in a handful of theaters, not that its attempt to capitalize on the release of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” will delay its passage into homevid obscurity.

This time out, Friedberg and Seltzer stick closer than usual to the plot specifics of their primary target, and only sporadically attempt collateral damage by skewering other pop-culture phenomena. Maiara Walsh does what she can to preserve her dignity while gamely shouldering the lead role of Kantmiss Evershot, an archery-adept heroine who proves improbably resilient while competing in a nationally televised kill-or-be-killed survival game.

The young woman warrior is just one of several figures intended as parodies of characters in “The Hunger Games.” But with the arguable exception of the autocratically tyrannical President Snowballs played (not half-badly) by Dietrich Bader, Kantmiss is the only one that comes even close to hitting the mark as an on-target satirical creation. (Oddly enough, there is no equivalent here for the cynical ex-champ played by Woody Harrelson in “The Hunger Games.” Maybe the filmmakers figured they couldn’t come up with a name that would sound nearly as funny as the original’s Haymitch Abernathy.)

There is barely 70 minutes’ worth of narrative in “The Starving Games,” an 82-minute feature pitilessly padded out with a blooper reel and a protracted credits roll. Judging from the threadbare production values, one might suspect the filmmakers simply couldn’t afford to make a longer film. In all fairness, there are two moderately funny sequences during the final 10 minutes or so, both of them involving well-placed jabs at other movies. In another context, the gags might not seem quite so clever. But they arrive in “The Starving Games” at a point when the audience is, well, famished for anything to laugh at.

Film Review: 'The Starving Games'

Reviewed at AMC Gulf Pointe 30, Houston, Nov. 10, 2013. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 82 MIN.


A Ketchup Entertainment release of a Safran Co. production in association with 3 in the Box. Produced by Peter Safran, Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer. Executive producers, Hal Oloffson, Patty Long. Co-producer, Kenny Yates.


Directed, written by Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer. Camera (FotoKem color), Shawn Maurer; editor, Peck Prior; music, Timothy Winn; production designer, William Elliott; costume designer, Maressa Richtmyer; sound (Dolby Digital), Erik H. Magnus; assistant director, Ann C. Salzer; casting, Lauren Bass, Jordan Bass.


Maiara Walsh, Brant Daugherty, Cody Allen, Christian Lauren Bowles, Dietrich Bader, Dean J. West.

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  1. There was some absolute crap in this movie (like a rodent on whom they digitally added googly eyes ..) but this movie was just spilling over with joke after joke after joke, most of them lame, but honestly some of them had me laughing out LOOUUDD. No comedy has made me laugh that hard since I was a kid, 20+ years ago.

  2. asdf says:

    if you don’t laugh at this movie you are like a brick wall this movie was really funny

  3. huy says:

    i watched it while having a few beers, and i thought it was very funny!!!! better then most spoofs out there.

  4. cherry says:

    i think the movie was right on. well if you truly believe in hunger game, then you are a big moron. if they can produce fire and animal, then why can’t they produce food? and did you see all the people in real hunger game from district 12, they all look well fed and healthy. and the blooper reel idea was very clever to show that the real hunger was a fake tv show. clearly you joe has no taste or brain. just google for “honest trailer hunger game” and you will understand why this spoof is right on

  5. Anonymous says:

    It seems we have a big boy here.

    The film wasn’t meant to be taken by the standards that a typical Hollywood comedy holds.
    I’m guessing you also watched it sober?

    On an unrelated side note – You wrote this article in the same light that I may write something when I’m having my own personal issues.
    I’m willing to bet that, like most film critics now, you’re often expending your stresses through public hostility towards a film.
    Oh well, sorry.

  6. Films such as these do have saving graces. They give the industry a look at new faces. Remember “RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES”? Maybe not….but years later everybody sure knows George Clooney. Now WHO did you say acquitted themselves well in this “D.O.A.” dud?

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