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Scary Movie

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 just wrong.

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.

Editor's Note:

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!

Scary Movie
Rated: R
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?

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