Super Capers -- Film Review

"Super Capers," about a halfway house for would-be superheroes, is a throwback C-grade spoof with B-movie aspirations.

Boasting a sprawling, "whatever became of" cast (including Adam West as the former ManBat, now driving a Bat Cab), this first feature by Ray Griggs wears its Mad Magazine influences like a badge of honor but fails to round up enough laughs to save the day.

Even its targeted juvenile audience -- weaned on stuff with much zippier Ka-Pow! -- likely will find things super slow-going.

Subtitled "The Origins of Ed and the Missing Bullion," the caper in question concerns one Ed Gruberman (Justin Whalin), a slacker superhero wannabe possessing zero powers who lands in a halfway house for caped crusaders in training.

With a cleverer script and better pacing, the picture might have held something of a "Galaxy Quest" allure, but such is not the case -- unless you count Puffer Boy (writer-director Griggs), who inflates into a roly-poly puffer fish at the first sign of stress.

That particular sight gag is worthy of a couple of laughs, at least the first few times it's dragged out.

But the parade of cameos, including West, June Lockhart, Clint Howard, Jon Polito, Doug Jones and Tommy "Tiny" Lister is sorta fun, and it's nice to see the usually intense Michael Rooker clearly enjoying himself in the role of Dark Winged Avenger.

All that and Tom Sizemore, too.

Holy SAG health-care benefits!

Opens: Friday, March 20 (Roadside Attractions)
Production: RG Entertainment
Cast: Justin Whalin, Michael Rooker, Doug Jones
Director-screenwriter: Ray Griggs
Executive producer: Michael Kim Binder
Producers: Reuben Lim, Ray Griggs
Director of photography: Martin Rosenberg
Production designer: Scott Enge
Music: Nathan Lanier
Costume designer: Francine Lecoultre
Editor: Stacy Katzman
Rating: PG, 98 minutes
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