"How do you get to be a Special? You go to a special school." The jibes one endures when a part of the "sixth or seventh best superhero team in the world." The Strobe (Thomas Haden Church) has become vain and self-absorbed, his frustrated wife Ms. Indestructible (Paget Brewster) has gone looking for love in the arms of the Weevil (Rob Lowe), and sex-mad, blue-faced punk Amok (Jamie Kennedy) is getting bored with being a good guy and longs for his supervillain days, when he could sneak a cigarette without publicity fallout. The team is like a bored group of kids stuck indoors on a rainy day, and inaction and frustration has led to backbiting, infighting, love affairs, and long-held grudges. The hilariously disastrous unveiling of their action figures (with such absurd accessories as "a giant meat thermometer") is the final straw: the Specials are no more.
On the surface The Specials looks like a sitcom version of Mystery Men with a droller sense of humor ("Remember the time we caught and drained the Blister?"). The sly script drops the misfit bunch into a suburban world where superheroes are just another part of the media and marketing landscape. First-time director Craig Mazin is a little clumsy putting it all together and perhaps too effectively captures the bland, everyday-ness of the setting, but he tweaks familiar clichés with straight-faced absurdity. The underplayed performances and deadpan gags soon catch up to the concept, and by the end it emerges as the funniest, smartest superhero parody in ages. --Sean Axmaker
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.