Friday, April 14, 2006

Scary Movie 4

Scary Movie 4
Directed by David Zucker
Written by Craig Mazin, Jim Abrahams, and Pat Proft
Miramax/Dimension/The Weinstein Company

I'll tell you right off the reaction from my co-workers about this movie. One said he laughed a bunch of times but there's a lot of really stupid crap in between, and four others absolutely hated it (laughed a couple of times, that's it). What did I think? Read on!

The Scary Movie franchise was taken over by Airplane! and The Naked Gun vet David Zucker the last go-around, when it was prominently Signs and The Ring that needed to get skewered. Zucker used to do these kinds of movies with brother Jerry, but since 1994's The Naked Gun 33 1/3, one that they didn't direct but wrote along with all of their other pals, they haven't worked together. I don't know the reasons, but David Zucker's work has suffered a little bit since then. BASEketball has a lot of admirers, but it's one of those movies that people forgive a lot of crap for because of certain scenes, Scary Movie 3 was hit-and-miss, and well, we won't even really talk about non-spoof movie My Boss's Daughter.

Hit-and-miss. It's the staple of spoof movies to throw as many gags as possible and see how many hit. It's throwing a pile of rocks twenty yards away at a bratty child. Those early classics like Airplane!, the other Zucker brother flick Top Secret!, and The Naked Gun all were hit and miss. But they mostly hit, and there was a different pace to them. There were good situational jokes and statements on society, not just movie references and wildly over-the-top physical gags. In today's spoof world, it's a lot of skits, and there's contemporary pop culture references strewn about. It's SNL: The Movie.

Scary Movie 4 has The Grudge and War of the Worlds to blend together, and along the way there's going to be entrances into Saw, The Village, Million Dollar Baby, and Brokeback Mountain, just to name a couple of the more prominent ones. Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris, my favorite comedienne working today, who has been in all 4 movies) is doing exactly as Sarah Michelle Gellar did in The Grudge, looking for work as a caregiver. She is given an old woman (Cloris Leachman, who has been busy lately) and a creepy haunted house with a pale Japanese ghost kid running around, which is right next door to Tom Ryan's (Craig Bierko) house from War of the Worlds. And the exact same storyline is happening from that movie, with the customary jabs. Tom and Cindy start the usual romance, and then the aliens come. And the Japanese ghost kid knows how to stop them. So that's how the loosely connected plot becomes one.

I actually thought this was pretty funny. The beginning of it is where it's better than usual, but then it tapers off into mostly miss territory. But there's a few pretty good gags scattered about--I think it will be a fairly decent crowd movie, but there is a word of caution--it's got a lot of very tired moments in it that I think will just die even in a crowded auditorium. And, depending on if you were even a big fan of the original Scary Movie, it's not as good as that, either. But it's a billion times better than February's Date Movie. They don't make 'em like they used to, even the ones responsible for kicking off the genre almost 30 years ago--but there's a little bit of ammo left, and it makes for some cheap fun at the movies.


At 4/14/2006 04:51:00 PM, Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Good review .. I'm holding off on seeing this one until Sunday, but have been looking for other people's opinions .. I though both Scary Movies 1 and 3 were very good, so I'll probably like this one too


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