Their first official project was the 1996 Leslie Nielsen spy parody Spy Hard, which was directed by Jason's father Rick Friedberg. It received a lukewarm reception and little notice at the box office. Their next contribution to parody films was one of the many scripts that was folded into the first Scary Movie.
The duo finally attracted commercial success on their own with the 2006 film Date Movie. While panned by critics, the film made back triple its meager budget and secured them a contract to do a couple more films. They became known for turning out simple, cheap, and quickly produced parody films during the mid-late 2000s, releasing back to back over 2007 and 2008, the latter two films coming out within mere months of each other. Their movies were routinely Not Screened for Critics. The few critics that did see them had nothing but scorn for them. However, the duo's successes tend to involve the low-cost of their movies (not a one of them has a budget over $20 million) and their release dates during the typical Dump Months of January and February when the competition is light and a film simply cashing in on a pop culture craze can stand out.
After Disaster Movie flopped even by their standards (largely due to popping up in August, which has become a much more crowded Dump Month in recent years), they took a short break before jumping on board the The Twilight Saga train with Vampires Suck. While the latter was still not well received, it did slightly better critically than their previous couple of films and returned them to box office glory. They have since released two more projects in 2013, The Starving Games' a clear parody of The Hunger Games, and Superfast! a The Fast and the Furious parody, in 2015.
Due to the nature of their films largely being simplistic parodies of whatever is popular at the time, a number of other parody films in the same style have been wrongly attributed to them. This includes Not Another Teen Movie, Superhero Movie (which was in fact by a different pair of Scary Movie alumni), and Dance Flick (which was actually the Wayans brothers).
Films directed by the duo:
- Date Movie
- Epic Movie (2007)
- Meet the Spartans
- Disaster Movie (2008)
- Vampires Suck
- The Starving Games
- Best Night Ever
This duo tends to attract writing just as negative as their own, so the page is locked.
Their work provides examples of:
- Artifact Title: Some of the films have issues with the titles not really representing the content being parodied. As the making-of materials on Disaster Movie revealed, this is because the films change rather rapidly in production and the title is simply meant to cover what the filmmakers expect to be the most marketable element.
- The Cameo: Carmen Electra appears in all of these movies (and plays a major role in Meet The Spartans) making her, for want of a better term, the series mascot.
- Crack Fic: Most of the X Meets Y formulas for the Seltzer and Friedberg are bizarre beyond belief, with the very few threads connecting them being that they were in the public's zeitgeist by the time the film was created. For example, "Meet The Spartans" was 300 combined with Meet the Parents. As The Nostalgia Critic asked: "What the fuck do those two things have in common?!"
- Designated Girl Fight: Happens quite a bit in these movies, although the male characters absolutely Would Hit a Girl.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Every single reference will be explained flatly to the audience. The Soup made fun of this with a parody of the movies entitled "Reference Movie" in which every character parody explained who they were and said "Get it?"
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: All of their films are fairly straight-forward in the title, even excusing for the tenuous connections the films themselves have to their titles.
- Fan Disservice:
- The amount of times they show a woman with extreme cellulite is just downright disturbing.
- The naked "Flavor Flav" is not something anyone wants to see.
- Follow the Leader: Spanish Movie, Superhero Movie, and Dance Flick. Sometimes, these guys are mistakenly credited for the latter two.
- Genre-Killer: You could argue that the spoof genre would have died out in the late 2000s regardless, as audience tastes moved to "bromance" films, ensemble pieces and more intellectual comedies, not to mention the rise in popularity of quickly-produced (and, therefore, more topical) web-based comedy, but Seltzer and Friedberg helped completely drive the genre into the ground, with Disaster Movie being seen as the one that officially signified its death. These days, most spoof movies are relegated to Direct-To-Video or digital.
- Narrow Parody: The movies "parodied" are often only one or two years old. For example, Disaster Movie had parodies of Juno, Hannah Montana, Iron Man, Sex and the City, The Incredible Hulk, Kung Fu Panda, Hellboy, The Dark Knight, Hancock, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Superbad, High School Musical, The Simpsons Movie, The Love Guru, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Enchanted, Wanted, Beowulf, Night at the Museum, Jumper, and 10,000 BC. None of these movie were older than a year at the time, and many were in fact released after Disaster Movie hit theaters.
- No Budget: Not much has gone to special effects, while production has been quick to reduce costs. Following Vampires Suck, their later films would be produced on even smaller budgets compared to their Hollywood titles.
- Not Screened for Critics: A tradition for each film, and considering the rather vicious reaction the films tend to get, rather unsurprising.
- Parody Names: Not often, but they're there.
JunoJuney, the White WitchBitch, Captain Jack SparrowSwallows, Becca Crane etc.
- Production Posse: Usually includes Jerry P. Jacobs and Peter Safran as producers, with regulars like Ike Barinholtz, Crista Flanagan, Carmen Electra or Diedrich Bader as actors. Pixel Magic serves as their usual visual effects contractor.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy: In the Abrams, Zucker and Abrams style, but most of the time, they throw in near-exact replicas of scenes from other movies instead of jokes.
- Reclusive Artist: Understandably, considering their public reputation, the duo make no spectacle of themselves. They have granted exactly one hour-long phone interview. Beyond that, all we have are two photos floating around the internet and some very cryptic, uninformative DVD commentaries.
- Redundant Parody: Sometimes, they make jokes that were present in the original source material. For example, the Wolverine parody in Epic Movie uses his middle claw to flip Edward the finger. This would be a valid parody of the character... if the real Wolverine didn't do the exact same thing in the first X-Men movie.
- Reference Overdosed: Each film is kind of like seeing about a hundred different movies, TV shows, music videos, viral memes, and other pop culture artifacts squeezed into ~80 minutes. See the Narrow Parody entry above for a short list of examples from one film.
- What Could Have Been:
- The duo were the first choice to write and direct Scary Movie 3, but turned in a script that barely parodied horror films at all, and instead mostly spoofed Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. In the duo's defence their script was written in 2001, which was an awful year for the horror genre — there were no real high-profile horror releases at all that year, outside of The Others (2001) and Jeepers Creepers, and maybe Hannibal and Donnie Darko if you're being generous — but the studio quickly realized that they were more interested in just getting cheap laughs from whatever happened to be popular rather than sticking to what they were actually meant to be spoofing, resulting in them being canned and replaced by David Zucker.
- They spent several years trying to sell a script for a straightforward Liberace biopic, only forfeiting when Behind the Candelabra was produced.
- The were supposed to make The Biggest Movie of All Time 3D, a spoof of Avatar, but nothing came of it outside of some pre-production work.
- After Epic Movie, they had plans to helm A Christmas Carol-style holiday comedy that was sold as a star vehicle for Rainn Wilson, but was cancelled days before production would've started due to budget concerns from New Regency.