Meet the Spartans

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Meet the Spartans
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Written by
  • Jason Friedberg
  • Aaron Seltzer
Produced by
CinematographyShawn Maurer
Edited byPeck Prior
Music byChristopher Lennertz
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • January 25, 2008 (2008-01-25)
Running time
83 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million[2]
Box office$84.6 million[3]

Meet the Spartans is a 2008 American parody film written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.[4] The film is mainly a parody of the 2006 film 300, although it also references many other films, TV shows, people and pop cultural events of the time, in a manner similar to previous films that Friedberg and Seltzer had been involved in such as Scary Movie, Date Movie and Epic Movie. The film stars Sean Maguire, Carmen Electra and Kevin Sorbo.

Meet the Spartans opened at No. 1 in the United States. Despite receiving extremely negative reviews and appearing on several lists of the worst films ever made, it was a box-office success, grossing $84 million on a budget of $30 million.[3]


A Spartan elder inspects three babies. The first, an ugly, talking baby ogre (Shrek the Third), is abandoned to die for its deformity; while Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie adopt the second, who is Vietnamese. The third, Leonidas, is accepted as a Spartan for his already-present muscular physique and is prepared for kinghood through brutal training. An adult Leonidas is cast out into the wild, survives the harsh winter, and hunts down a gangsta penguin named Mumble (Happy Feet). Returning as king for his inauguration wearing a penguin skin hat, Leonidas sees Margo erotically dancing and asks her to marry him, to which she responds by giving him the combination to her armor-plated chastity belt.

Years later, Leonidas is training his son when Captain informs him that a Persian messenger has arrived. Accompanied by the Spartan politician Traitoro, the messenger presents Persian King Xerxes' demands for Sparta's submission. After growing angry with both the messenger's disrespect and finding him making out with his wife, Leonidas kicks him into a pit. Despite Traitoro's advice that the messenger's guards are now needed to convey the actual message, Leonidas kicks them in as well, along with Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, Sanjaya Malakar, Ryan Seacrest, and the American Idol judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. Resolving to face the Persians, Leonidas visits the prophets and gives them medicines such as Neutrogena as their price for their consultation. They advise him that he should consult the Oracle for any advice. The Oracle Ugly Betty reveals that Leonidas will die should he go to war.

After deciding while spending the night with his wife, Leonidas meets the soldiers assembled for his departure to Thermopylae, and finds that only thirteen were accepted in the army due to stringent requirements. Among them are Captain, his son Sonio, and a slightly unfit Spartan named Dilio. Once at the Hot Gates, they encounter a deformed Paris Hilton, who tells Leonidas and the Captain about a secret goat path above the Hot Gates that Xerxes could use to outflank the Spartans. When she asks to be made a Spartan soldier, Leonidas rejects her as unqualified because she cannot use a spear correctly. Leonidas and his platoon soon face off with Xerxes' messenger and his Immortals, beating them in a dance contest before driving them off a cliff. Xerxes, impressed, personally approaches Leonidas and attempts to bribe him with a trip to the Palms Hotel and Casino. Leonidas declines, and the Spartans face the Persian army in a "Yo Momma" fight, which the Spartans win, but Dilio has his eyes scratched out and wanders away.

Deciding to betray the Spartans, Hilton tells Xerxes where the goat path is in return for various gifts and for having her deformed hump removed. Xerxes meets the twelve remaining Spartans and the war begins. Meanwhile, back in Sparta, Queen Margo has several confrontations with Traitoro, as he is the vital vote in sending more troops to assist her husband. Following her address to the council, Traitoro publicly betrays the Queen, who then battles him in a parody of Spider-Man 3 and defeats him using a dust buster. With Traitoro's deceit exposed, the council is united with the queen.

At the Battle of Thermopylae, the Persians introduce their secret weapons, Ghost Rider and Rocky Balboa, who kills Sonio with a decapitating uppercut. Captain avenges him with Botox poisoning before being struck down by Xerxes. Leonidas pursues Xerxes and plays Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Managing to find the "Transformer Cube", Xerxes uses it in a car to become Xerxestron and shows off his powers to access the "Leave Britney Alone!" video on YouTube. However, Xerxestron accidentally trips on his extension cord and falls on Leonidas and the surviving Spartans, killing them. The blind Dilio eventually returns to Sparta to inform Queen Margo of Leonidas's death. A year later, Dilio leads a larger Spartan force to defeat the Persians, but the blind warrior ends up going the wrong way. They end up in Malibu, where they knock Lindsay Lohan down as she is leaving rehab again.



Box office[edit]

Meet the Spartans opened at number one at the US box office, grossing $18,505,530 over its opening weekend,[5] narrowly edging out fellow newcomer Rambo, which was briefly parodied in the credits of this film. The film dropped 60.4% in its second weekend grossing $7,336,595 expanding to 2643 theaters while ranking fourth at the box office. The film grossed $38,233,676 in United States and Canada and grossed $45,787,889 internationally, adding up to a total worldwide gross of $84,021,565.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Meet the Spartans was universally panned by critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 2% based on 49 reviews, with an average rating of 2.40/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "A tired, unfunny, offensive waste of time, Meet the Spartans scrapes the bottom of the cinematic barrel."[6] On Metacritic, the film received a score of 9 based on 11 reviews, indicating "overwhelming dislike", being the worst received film by the directors on the site.[7] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade C− on a scale from A+ to F.[8]

Variety called it "Lazy, lame and painfully unfunny, Meet the Spartans is yet another scrambled-genre parody."[9] Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Writer-directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer basically reprise the tired formula from their earlier efforts, which is to throw in as many pop culture references as possible to cover up the lack of any real wit."[10] Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times gave it a 1 out of 5 and wrote: "Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the team behind Meet the Spartans, prove that ridiculing other movies is much easier than making your own." Catsoulis said the various audience reactions at the screening she attended summed it up best: Eewwww! Aaarghh! Huh?[11][12] Critic Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons called it "One of the most painfully bad comedies I've ever had to endure, and I've seen the collected works of Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen, Ice Cube AND Cedric the Entertainer."[13] The Radio Times said "After enduring the torturously unfunny Date Movie and Epic Movie, one could be forgiven for concluding that the art of cinematic parody was in terminal decline. This latest installment in Friedberg and Seltzer's franchise hammers a final nail into the coffin with an utterly atrocious collection of imbecilic skits... it's junk-food cinema at its worst. One cringes to think what future cultural historians will make of it… and us."[14]

Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly gave it a mixed review, crediting the actors for their efforts but criticizing the script and the already dated jokes, giving it a grade C−.[15]

Most of the film's criticism consisted of not having many actual jokes and instead having an over-reliance on pop culture references.[10] Several recurring gags were criticized for being overused, such as the ambiguous sexuality of the Spartans[9] and throwing various celebrities down the Pit of Death.

The film's score by Christopher Lennertz was commended by Christian Clemmensen from, who considered it one of the biggest "guilty pleasures" of 2008.[16]


On January 21, 2009, the film received five nominations for the 29th Golden Raspberry Awards:[17] Worst Picture (jointly with Disaster Movie), Worst Supporting Actress (Electra), Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on June 3, 2008.


  1. ^ "MEET THE SPARTANS (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. January 11, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  2. ^ "Meet the Spartans (2008) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Meet the Spartans at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ Meet the Spartans at IMDb
  5. ^ "US Movie Box Office Chart Weekend of January 25, 2008". The Numbers. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "Meet the Spartans (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  7. ^ "Meet the Spartans (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  8. ^ Joshua Rich (January 29, 2008). "Spartans stops Rambo". Entertainment Weekly. the movie's CinemaScore was a terrible C- (coming from a crowd that was, not surprisingly 58 percent male and three-quarters under the age of 25)
  9. ^ a b Leydon, Joe (January 25, 2008). "Meet the Spartans". Variety.
  10. ^ a b Scheck, Frank. "Meet the Spartans - Bottom Line: "300" was funnier". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
    Scheck, Frank (January 26, 2008). "Obvious gags, laugh-free jokes vanquish "Spartans"". Reuters.
  11. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (January 26, 2008). "Doing Battle on the Field of Parody (Published 2008)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 7, 2017.
  12. ^ Gene Seymour (2008). "'Meet the Spartans'". Newsday. Archived from the original on October 16, 2010. What's the point of making a parody that's dumber than the stuff it parodies?
  13. ^ Franklin, Garth (January 25, 2008). "Review: "Meet the Spartans"". Dark Horizons.
  14. ^ Jamie Russell (2008). "Meet the Spartans – review". Radio Times. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  15. ^ Clark Collis (February 6, 2008). "Meet the Spartans". Entertainment Weekly.
  16. ^ Meet the Spartans (Christopher Lennertz) at
  17. ^ John Wilson (January 21, 2009). "RAZZIES.COM 2008 Nominations". Razzie Awards. Retrieved January 21, 2009.

External links[edit]