In all honesty, “Scary Movie 3” is not as bad as it looks. The
question, of course, is was it funny? The answer: eh, sort of.
Director David Zucker, taking over for the MIA Wayans Brothers, invented
this sort of dense parody more than 20 years ago with “Airplane,” and he
hasn’t done much to update the genre. Not that there aren’t lots of
modern, up to the minute jokes (cell phones, catholic priest/pedophiles,
Macy Gray with a rocket launcher), it’s just the formula is still
formless. Hey, look over here, is this funny? How about this?
The first “Scary Movie” was a spoof of “Scream” and its progeny.
“Scream,” of course, was a satire of the genre. A spoof of a satire.
Hey, at least it had some really, really dirty jokes and a few solid
laughs. The sequel was beyond bad, and would have orbited “Austin
Powers 3” territory had it not been for Chris Elliot and David Cross,
whose performances were so tasteless I was embarrassed to laugh. This
latest entry is a step up from its predecessor, but be forewarned: the
PG-13 rating means far fewer sex and pot jokes, and nothing like the
infamous bedroom scene in the original. However, for those that don’t
need bodily functions to have a good time, I’d say three out of every
ten jokes are decent, and one out of 10 is a winner. That’s a low
count, indeed, but it’s still a laugh every three or four minutes, which
gives it a better track record than “Friends.”
The “story” attempts to meld the plots of “The Ring” and “Signs”
to create the tale of a deadly videotape that kills anyone who views it
within 7 days, and may or may not be from Alien invaders. Several other
films, such as “The Sixth Sense,” are poked at, though not very hard.
Anna Farris (who was so good in Lucky McKee’s “May”) returns as Cindy,
who looks like but really has nothing in common with her character
“Cindy” in the first two flicks. Cindy works as a TV anchorwoman
caring for her odd, clairvoyant nephew who keeps drawing circles and
dead people. Charlie Sheen stands in for the Mel Gibson character in
“Signs,” a single father/farmer/ex-clergyman who finds oddly-shaped
messages in his crops (Such as “Attack Here,” with an arrow pointing to
the house. I didn’t laugh either).
Inexplicably, the Sheen character’s brother (Tom Stack) is an
aspiring rapper and the movie spends about 15 l-o-n-g minutes doing a
parody of “8 Mile.” This is the movie’s lamest stretch and contains the
fewest funny jokes. In contrast, we later see the White House, where
the president (the great Leslie Neilson) and his staff (including D.L.
Hughley and Ja Rule) fending off aliens and passing out Mother Theresa
bobble-heads. Zucker is at his best with these off-the-wall non
sequiturs, when he can refrain from slavishly following the plots of
films we’ve already seen.
“Scary Movie 3” really does have some funny bits, and any movie that can
get George Carlin, The RZA , Jenny McCarthy all in the same 90 minutes
is A-OK by me. Which leads to the main problem reviewing a film like
this: Obviously, it has no merit outside its ability to create
laughter. Story, pacing, special effects, acting: None of these are of
any importance what-so-ever. It did make me laugh, hard a few times,
but overall I walked out of the theater not really caring. I wasn’t
reminiscing about funny scenes, and I can’t really any think of any
quotable jokes. On the other hand, the audience really seemed to enjoy
it, laughing hysterically at jokes I didn’t find all that funny. That
doesn’t mean I’m better or they are, just that humor has to strike home
with the individual. Buyer beware.
Anyway, I’m going to get back to reviewing horror movies, this comedy
stuff confounds me.