Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3-D

Recommended for 16 year old boys and recovering crack addicts.

Transformers Dark of the MoonTo quote Lloyd Bridges, the father of Jeff and Beau, from the classic Airplane (1980), “I picked a helluva time to give up glue sniffing!” In my case, I’m speakingof my recent hiatus from movie reviewing, and my decision to get partially back in the saddle with Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3-D.

Let me simply say that it is the functional equivalent of attending an orgy at the Playboy Mansion where you comfortably watch the mayhem through a one-way mirror. While this film is likely to offend every fundamental moral fiber of your very being, your profound sense of personal disgrace will likely be heightened by the fact you ended up having a damn good time.

Without question, the most recent “Transformers” is a sacrificial offering to the gods of cinematic excess. Director Michael Bay functions as a modern day Nero as he recreates the prurient and titillating experiences of the old Roman coliseum. However, instead of gladiators fighting to the death, Mr. Bay has brought us a ringside seat to alien transformers who are trying to enslave mankind as they exploit the earth’s natural resources.

The good news is that the special effects are as dazzling as any ever seen on the Silver Screen. Who really cares about the insipid plot when you are watching two hours of magnificent mayhem that functions as a gigantic adrenaline rush.

On the other hand, while this “Transformers” is mercifully missing the tawdry performance of the lamentable Ms. Megan Fox, it tragically exceeds the sexist undertone of the first two editions in this fascinatingly offensive movie trilogy. Let me state flatly that you will never see a film in which nearly every woman is so profoundly objectified, and that is not an exaggeration.

In place of Ms. Fox strategically pawing a motorcycle while dressed as a cheap slut who might have starred in the TV series, Dukes of Hazard, we have Ms. Rosie Huntington-Whitley, a surgically altered Victoria Secret’s model. Not only are her lips not found anywhere in nature, but her sole purpose is to parade around in five inch heels and tight suggestive outfits that is more comical than titillating.

On top of that, nearly all of the other women are doing the exact same thing. Has Mr. Bay spent so many years in Hollywood that he literally has lost touch with the real world? I thought the party scene at Shia LaBeouf’s college in the last “Transformers” was the height of misogynistic cluelessness, but this film takes the lurid cake.

Truthfully, the only thing saving the plot from total disgrace are supporting performances by accomplished actors like John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Patrick Dempsey, the great Frances McDormand and the increasingly eccentric John Malkovich. While all of them are called upon to do little more than look ridiculous, their collective contributions saves “Transformers” from imploding on itself.

As for Shia LaBeouf, he appears as tired and disinterested as Toby McGuire did in the third “Spider Man” movie. You get the feeling that he is more than ready to move on, and God only knows that I am.