Oh how the fringe becomes the norm. In an impotent and late
attempt to revitalize the box office energy of the original
“Scary Movie,” the franchise’s originators have
been abandoned. It was more than evident from “Scary Movie
2” that the Wayans Brothers had nothing left to satirize.
After a rejection from Kevin Smith for a rewrite (a smart man
indeed), an entire PG-13 diluted revamp is presented with veteran
parody director David Zucker (“Airplane!”) at the helm
with writers Craig Mazin (“Senseless”) and Pat Proft
(“Naked Gun”) in tow.

Janna Hutz
Want me to drag him outside, kick the shit out of him? (Courtesy of Dimension)

In the tradition of parody, there is an ensemble cast of all
brands of celebrities, A and B list, and plots mashed together in a
hodgepodge for maximum joke-a-second style humor that made films
like “Naked Gun” and “Airplane!” the
populist classics they are. However, that was 1980, and that style
never seemed more dead and stale than on display in “Scary
Movie 3.” You get the feeling of Zucker sitting his
grandchildren down and showing them old highlight reels. Not to say
that this style of humor is completely finished, but rather it was
never executed with more difficulty than watching Ja Rule trying to
be funny.

Using “The Ring” for a ridiculous amount of its
plot, the movie moves forcefully through all the recent and most
popular films as a way of masking its own ineptitude. No movie is
spared as “X-Men 2,” “8 Mile,”
“Signs,” “The Matrix” and “Sixth
Sense” all get lampooned (apparently it is still cutting edge
to spoof a movie you spoofed two movies ago). Anna Farris
(“Lost in Translation”), master of the ditzy shtick and
the mild saving grace of the film, returns as Cindy, who is on a
mission to spread the news of impending doom, this time in the form
of crop circles and ominous videotapes, to the masses.

With this type of film, the acting glasses are taken off and the
only things looked for are comedic timing and adept physical humor,
but instead we get Charlie Sheen banging his head repeatedly on a
metal lampshade, Leslie Nielsen looking rather lost and tired, flat
Michael Jackson jokes and people falling down holes. The hackneyed
notion of one character as whipping boy is also present and it gets
old quick, all depending on how funny a child flying out a window
for the eighth time is to you.

With such a high attack rate, the accuracy is dangerously low,
since about three jokes hit. Mostly you just sit and cringe. The
onslaught of sight and sound gags, props, spitfire one-liners and
inept lampooning just feels like your old uncle elbowing you in the
ribs saying, “Funny huh?” No, it’s not. Stop.

But there is one truly scary thought to this all, “Scary
Movie 4” is in pre-production, and nothing disturbs me more
than the idea of another one of these being mass distributed. Be
afraid.

Rating: 1.5 stars.

“Scary Movie 3” made how much this
weekend?

Like the Florida Marlins improbable World Series win,
“Scary Movie 3” surprisingly took home the box office
crown this weekend with a jaw-dropping $49.7 million purse. Looking
back on past numbers from October, as well as receipts from the
trilogy’s first two installments, this weekend’s gross
is almost incomprehensible.

Outgrossing last year’s Hannibal Lecter remake “Red
Dragon,” David Zucker’s comedy proved the most
successful October opening weekend of all time. It even topped the
original’s opening by $7 million and totalled nearly
one-third of “Scary Movie 2”’s final tally.

The only other comparable sequel in terms of unexpected earnings
is 2001’s “Hannibal,” yet another part of the
Lecter story. Who knows what this unprecedented October success
will bring in the future?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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