The main problem with Scary Movie is that it's too good at being what it's
pretending to be.
That makes a lot more sense than you think.
From The Wayans, the only family in Hollywood with more siblings than the
Baldwins, comes Scary Movie. Scary Movie is a self-aware send-up of the
Horror genre and a parody of Scream, which itself was a self-aware send-up of
the Horror genre. Most of the Scream-related jokes are ones that you can
imagine the actors on the set of Scream coming up with off camera to pass the
time, which is why Scary Movie isn't as hilarious as it could be.
The best moments in the film are when we venture away from the Scream
story-line. Snippets borrowed from everything from I Know What You Did Last
Summer to The Matrix to The Blair Witch Project to the "Whasssuuuuuup"
commercials come to life and are darned funny. But then the bit ends and the
movie returns to its version of the Scream story-line and it gets dull. I
mean, they often don't even bother to create their own dialogue, going
instead with lines right out of the Scream script. If I wanted to watch
Scream, I'd watch Scream.
Still, the movie is funny at times. The obligatory naked chase through the
sprinklers is funny. The killer getting stoned is funny. Making love to a
vacuum cleaner is funny. But when it becomes Scream, it falls short. I mean
heck, Scream itself is often funnier than the movie parodying it, and that's
The main problem with Scary Movie trying to parody Scream is that Scream
already did it. When one of the Wayans Brothers says "I saw this already in
that movie Scream!" He's being truer than he'd like to admit. The stalking
killer who can't believe how dumb his prey is? Been there. The groovy "this
isn't a movie, it's real life" wink? Done that. Basically, there isn't a
moment in this film that hasn't already been done. We've simply never had it
all mashed together into one film before.
But that film opened at over $40 million. That's huge. That means a lot of
people went to see it. Why? Because we all really liked Scream? Because we
wanted a good slapstick comedy and we'd already seen Me, Myself and Irene?
Because it had a pretty good trailer? Because we all love the Wayans
Brothers? All of the above. Except, perhaps the Wayans Brothers thing.
So will you like the movie? Maybe. It's gross-out humor done in a horror
theme. You got your fart jokes, your penis jokes, your pubic hair jokes,
your masturbating jokes, your marijuana jokes, your transsexual jokes and
your homosexual jokes. You want all that? Go see the movie. If that's not
your speed, you can skip this baby and never get a sinking feeling in your
stomach that your life is incomplete.
Me? I'd go see Chicken Run.
Which, by the way, would be a much better idea for you if you have a bunch of
pre-teen kids with you. There were at least two couples in the theater with
a total of about six or seven kids in Scary Movie, the oldest of which
couldn't have hit puberty yet. WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING IN THIS MOVIE?
It's rated R! Say what you will, I can't see any way that a shot of a penis
going through a man's head can be a good thing for a six year-old. Parents,
what's wrong with you!!!
Scary Movie gets 2 1/2 Babylons. There enough semi-clever bits to give you
fits of laughter, but the entire experience leaves you empty as a second-week
showing of Battlefield Earth.
In the original review submitted to my office, the SMC pointed out that the
penis-through-the-head thing was a bad take-off on an old Steve Martin gag.
And some of you call me a crappy editor!
Directed By: Keenen Ivory Wayans
Starring: Jon Abrahams, Shannon Elizabeth, Cheri Oteri, Anna Faris, Regina
Hall, Lochlyn Munro, Dave Sheridan, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Carmen
Electra, Kurt Fuller, Still Paying Attention?, Dan Joffre, Marissa Jaret
Winokur, Mark Hoeppner and get this, Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley playing
"Principal Squiggy." Isn't that funny? Isn't it?