The Highlight Reel

“Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off” and a plethora of unfunny jokes

Nick Porisch

More stories from Nick Porisch

The Highlight Reel
May 10, 2023

Photo by Marisa Valdez

Image copyright Walt Disney Pictures

“Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off” might be the single least funny movie I’ve ever seen. Its jokes are limp and stale, and the movie is too bland to be ironically funny, either.

The 2003 Disney Channel Original Movie begins with the single most overdone baseball joke known to mankind — two outfielders are running across the field with their eyes focused on a ball in the sky, and they crash into each other, only for the ball to land a few yards away.

It doesn’t get better from there. I didn’t bother to note any of the other jokes from the movie, because they were so lame that they weren’t even funny in an embarrassing-to-the-writers way.

The movie itself is also incredibly bland, and after watching over half a dozen of these movies, it felt like a Frankenstein mish-mash of every trope I’ve seen so far.

The movie follows Eddie Ogden, the star baseball player on a team of perpetually losing but loveable misfits (“The Big Green”).

Things get complicated when Eddie realizes his love for cooking, tricks his friends into signing up for a home economics class and eventually enters a competition that distracts him from his baseball skills.

His teammates, siblings, dad and middle school all constantly point out that cooking is a girl’s hobby, meaning Eddie is pursuing a passion outside of his typical gender role (“Motocrossed”).

There’s a snobby rival student in the cooking competition who Eddie eventually learns to befriend and understand (“Alley Cats Strike”).

There’s an unsupportive father (“Brink,” “Johnny Tsunami” and “Motocrossed”), and complicated sibling dynamics are a core aspect of the plot (“Double Teamed” and “Right on Track”).

I could go on and on, but the point is probably clear.

The tropes could be forgiven if the movie had more unique characters or, again, a single funny joke.

When Eddie first discovers his love of cooking, he makes a meal for his family and two best friends. Everyone immediately makes fun of him, and his dad hits with the line “I guess we’ll just have to start calling you Chef Eddie.”

Everyone at the table laughs, and this is clearly meant to be a wicked burn. Bullies in these movies tend to have pretty weak one-liners, but this doesn’t even have enough cheesiness or creativity to be interesting or funny in any sense.

The movie follows a thoroughly boring plot with almost no conflict, beyond the fact that Eddie’s dad is occasionally a jerk to him and the kids at the school make fun of him for having a “girl hobby,” which feels like it would’ve been an outdated stereotype even in 2003.

I could deep-dive into why all the character conflicts and arcs make no sense, and why the ending, which is the most original part of the movie, still falls flat, but I’m just not motivated enough to take the time.

I will say this in the movie’s favor, though. 

I absolutely loved the cinematography. It has this nostalgic color grading, and the camerawork has an almost amateur-ish feel to it that ends up being pretty endearing as someone who used to make a lot of amateur movies.

Overall, though, this is one of the lamest movies I’ve covered so far for this column. 

Also, the only trope it skipped was wacky Leprechaun antics (“Luck of the Irish”), and I think that would’ve been a welcome addition.

Porisch can be reached at [email protected].