Judge Patrick Naugle has been spooked for the last time.
The supernatural is coming. Bring protection.
The Scary Movie franchise is an odd beast. The series was started as a parody of the Scream horror film series, which became wildly popular in the mid/late 1990s. What made it strange is that the Scream movies were themselves parodying—or at least playing with the conventions of—the horror genre. The first Scary Movie was written and directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans (I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka!), and became a mammoth box office success in 2000. With an enormous hit on their hands Dimension commissioned a sequel and within a year fans were greeted with the lackluster Scary Movie 2, a huge step down in quality (but still a profitable success for the studio). Unfortunately, this also opened the door for Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg (two of the film's writers) to make a slew of abysmal Scary Movie knock-offs (Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie). With the third film, 2003's Scary Movie 3, Wayans and his crew—which included seemingly most of his extended family—jumped ship and handed the reigns over to writer/director David Zucker, who had created such comedy classics as Airplane! and The Naked Gun. Zucker would return to write and direct the fourth film, 2006's Scary Movie 4, which went on to do so-so box office and seemingly ended the series.
Or so we thought.
Now, seven years after the fact, here comes Scary Movie 5, a film that's a plummet in quality, acting, writing, directing, and—most importantly—comedy. It's like a black hole of laughter, a place where anything funny goes to die. Does it sound like I'm being too harsh on the film? If so, consider this: the movie starts with tabloid fodder Charlie Sheen (who was actually very funny in Scary Movie 3) and Lindsey Lohan in bed making fun of their personas. This sounds like a sequence that has potential, but seeing the leathery Sheen and haggard Lohan together in the sack faux humping—with the Benny Hill theme playing behind them, no less—just made me sad for both of them. It was like watching a depressing drunkard dance for his beer. To give you an idea of how bad Scary Movie 5 is, this was the funniest thing in the movie.
The story within Scary Movie 5 isn't even worth discussing because the plot exists only to hang a bunch of jokes off it. And by jokes I mean a lot of references to other movies because…well, there isn't really a rhyme or reason. The filmmakers apparently think we'll be amused just because there's a reference to Mama or the new Evil Dead remake. Or Tyler Perry's Madea character, for that matter. What the filmmakers tend to forget is that context is everything; just because you've referenced another (far better) movie doesn't make it funny. There has to be a reason why it's being referenced, and "just because the movie exists" is not good enough.
This also goes for having cameos in your movie. One of the reasons the cameos in the other films worked is because they played them against type (Dr. Phil and Shaquille O'Neil in a Saw parody comes to mind). In Scary Movie 5 we get Terry Crews (The Expendables), Molly Shannon (Superstar), Heather Locklear (Melrose Place), musician Snoop Dogg, comedian Katt Williams, ex-boxer Mike Tyson, Kate Walsh (Private Practice), and Jerry O'Connell (Stand By Me) doing practical walk on cameos just so we can say, "Hey! There's Heather Locklear!" That novelty gets old pretty fast since their reason for inclusion is because they're B or C-level celebrities.
As for the main cast, let me get this over with quickly: Ashley Tisdale (falling from High School Musical grace) isn't funny. Simon Rex (a holdover from the last two films) isn't funny. Modern Family's Sarah Hyland isn't funny. No one in this movie is even remotely amusing. I pretty much despised every minute that I had to sit through this movie. Rarely do I witness a movie that is void of any and all entertainment value. Scary Movie 5 is that movie. It may be as equally bad as A Haunted House (released only a few months prior), and that's really saying something. At least A Haunted House had the wherewithal to stick to the idea it was spoofing (the Paranormal Activity series), even though it was still a terrible film. Scary Movie 5 just throws random moments at the screen, hoping some will stick. They don't.
What is utterly distressing is that director David Zucker and Pat Proft (who also worked on many other Zucker films) were the ones who wrote this turkey. How could anyone read this screenplay and think it had comedic potential? Seriously, it baffles the mind to know that the man who gave us some of the funniest moments in the last fifty years shat out this turd of a film. The director replacing Zucker is Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother), which is like hiring the Dollar Store to decorate your $20 Million penthouse suite.
As bad as Scary Movie 5 is, there's no denying that this 1.78:1 widescreen transfer (in 1080p) looks great. What the film lacks in content quality it makes up for in the video transfer. This is a very good looking picture that sports dark blacks and bold colors. Nary a defect could be found, unless you count the acting and writing and directing. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround in English. This is a well done audio mix sporting a fair amount of directional effects and surround sounds (especially during the moments when supernatural forces appear). Also included on this disc is a French Dolby 5.1 mix, as well as English and Spanish subtitles.
Extra features for Scary Movie 5 are thankfully rather slim: all that's included is a bonus DVD/digital copy and eight deleted scenes, although if the filmmakers wanted to be accurate, the whole movie should have been a "deleted scene."
I'd like to ask Dimension Films to please stop making these movies. Quit while you're ahead. Or considering Scary Movie 5, quit while you're behind.
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