One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my life was David Zucker’s ‘Scary Movie 3’- I hated it, I really, truly HATED it. So it probably comes as no surprise that I went into the movie ready to tear it to shreds; arms up and my battle-axe ready to fly. I pretty much hated it before I even stepped into the theater; only something went terribly wrong… it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
The monumental reteaming of David Zucker and Jim Abrahams, the duo behind the brilliant ‘Airplane!’, must have had something to do with the so-called “charm” hidden so deeply in the piss and fart jokes.
Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) returns to find out that the house she is caretaking in is haunted by a little boy and goes on a quest to find out who killed him and why. The subplot follows Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko), Cindy’s neighbor, who is trying to discover the secret behind an Alien “Tr-iPods” invasion.
What makes this movie better then all three of its predecessors is one single thing… an actual plot. All of the ‘Scary Movie’ films just break off sequences from dozens of horror films and find moronic ways of turning it into a joke. The films have no structure and are all over the place, it’s like a sh-t storm, yet nothing sticks. In ‘Scary Movie 4’ the plot sticks along the lines of spoofing Spielberg’s ‘War of the Worlds’ and Takashi Shimizu’s ‘The Grudge,’ and seeing that ‘The Grudge’ has no plot it was easy to blend that story into the ‘Worlds’ substructure. So in ‘Scary Movie 4’, when this sh-t ain’t sticking, it helps that there is some sort of story to be involved in.
Another positive thing Zucker brought to the film is Carol Ramsey and her brilliant costume design. The recreations are so incredibly authentic that it almost makes you wonder what Spielberg spent $200 million on making ‘War of the Worlds.’ The FX work was perfect as well, bringing the Alien “Tr-iPods” to life. I’m willing to bet that Zucker could have made ‘War of the Worlds’ for the same budget as ‘Scary Movie 4.’
Like the initial three films, ‘Scary Movie 4’ throws so much sh-t at the wall the toilets would be jealous. And while most of the jokes fall straight to the floor, there were a handful that were extremely funny. My favorite scene in the whole movie is when Cindy is talking to the little boy in what appears to be Japanese, only they’re using works like “Toshiba” and “Honda”, while the subtitles show a real conversation. A sequence when Cindy cleans an old lady’s face with her own piss is just one of a dozen classic jokes you’ll get in the pic. Leslie Neilson plays President Harris and sticks it to Bush with some clever little pokes. My favorite is when he gives an important speech to the nations of the world and opens with a few racist jokes. The ultimate joke is in the finale when you find out how the aliens catch a virus and die… brilliant.
Ultimately though, ‘Scary Movie 4’ is still f-cking stupid and still a waste of an hour and a half. Sure it was structured, and sure there were a few really good jokes, but I want complete entertainment – like in ‘Airplane!’ If you are a fan of any of the first three films in the franchise, you’re destined to love this movie, but if you’re a hater there’s nothing more than a better plot. This one will definitely be a hit or miss among viewers.