Cook Off!, a mockumentary about an amateur cooking competition, is one of several movies vying for your dollars on the weekend before Thanksgiving. If you saw the trailer or the poster, you might think that this is a hilarious food-filled romp starring one of the world’s funniest people, Melissa McCarthy. But now, as several critics are pointing out, the film itself is not actually very funny, and McCarthy is barely in the movie at all.
Cook Off! was originally filmed over a decade ago, before McCarthy hit the big time with her scene-stealing role in Bridesmaids. The film originally premiered at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in 2007, but it languished on the shelf for nine years until Lionsgate decided to release it for this holiday season. And according to the professional movie watchers out there, this comedy has not aged well.
Times critic Ben Kenigsberg writes: “Like the can that got lost in the pantry and is now showing telltales of botulism risk, this misbegotten mockumentary, directed by Guy Shalem and Cathryn Michon (though only Mr. Shalem was credited in 2007), hasn’t been improved by time.” Kenigsberg also notes that “film takes nearly 40 minutes to deliver a glorified walk-on from Melissa McCarthy.” Meanwhile, LA Times critic Michael Rechtshaffen describes the film as “a shrill, gloppy mess of a mockumentary being served up well past its ‘best before’ date — if there ever actually were one.” Woof.
Currently, Cook Off! doesn’t have a rating on either Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes because only those two critics have reviewed the movie so far. But if you’re still curious about this comedy and don’t want to shell out the $12 to see it at the multiplex, you can also rent it on iTunes for $6.99 starting today, as well.