• Warning: Spoilers
    If "Superhero Movie" gives you the same giddy, guilty-pleasure feeling as "Airplane!" and the "Naked Gun" movies, it's no accident. Some of those movies' personnel – who were also involved in two lesser "Scary Movie" sequels – show up here. (Those include writer-director Craig Mazin, who happily has come a long way from 1997's abysmal "Rocketman.")

    The movie's title says it all. It's a comedy that takes a well-known hit (in this case, "Spider-Man"), turns it inside out, and uses it as a clothesline for gags. In this parody version, nerdy Rick Riker (amiable Drake Bell of cable-TV's "Drake and Josh") gets bitten by a mutant dragonfly, turning him into...well, take a guess. Meanwhile, a well-meaning scientist (Chris McDonald) turns nasty when his experiment backfires and he finds he must sap others' life-blood in order to keep himself alive.

    As is typical of such parodies, the movie's approach is as subtle as a spitball gun. Some of the gags are terrific, and some are groaners. But they're all fired at such a rapid pace that after a while, you have no choice but to give in to the silliness. The characters are like shooting-gallery ducks waiting to have parody lobbied at them. Best of the bunch are Rick's well-meaning but dotty uncle and aunt (delightfully played by Leslie Nielsen and "Happy Days'" Marion Ross). The most pitiable is a take-off on disabled genius Stephen Hawking, who seems to push Mazin's bad-taste button over and over ad nauseum.

    This leads me to the movie's most required caveat. While the flick is mostly silly fun, it pushes its "PG-13" rating right up to the edge of the "R" cliff. The movie is larded with sexual gags and profanity abound, and what might possibly be cinema's longest-ever flatulence gag.

    But if you can bear up under the cringe factor, "Superhero Movie" is mostly high-powered fun. Nifty comedy here runs neck-and-neck with bad taste. It's a close race, but the comedy wins.

    "Superhero Movie" is rated PG-13 for countless sex and drug references, crude humor, and adult language.