What the hell happened!?! How did a juvenile, disgusting comedy by the Wayans brothers, a satire of a satire at that, achieve to pull 42 millions in its opening week-end? When “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” did giant business last year, it was understandable: Mike Myers is a comic genius. But the Wayans? Aren’t they usually in TV shows that get canceled, second-rate action movies in which they play the sidekick to the star or dumb comedies? Did anybody bother to see Marlon Wayans‘ last movie, “Senseless”? I did, and though Marlon’s performance was sorta amusing, the film wasn’t even worth the time to review it, so I didn’t. What’s different about “Scary Movie”? Well, I guess it might be a case of being in synch with current audience tastes. Basically, this movie is “Scream” meets “There’s Something About Mary”, so talk about an easy sell!
By and large, what we get is an almost shot-for-shot remake of “Scream” mixed with “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, “Scream 2” as well as potshots at “The Blair Witch Project”, “The Sixth Sense” and “The Matrix”. Twentysomething hottie Anna Faris (who’s a hundred times more charismatic and fun than Neve Campbell by the way) stars as Cindy, a virginal girl-next door stalked by a mad killer with a Ghostface mask and a cell phone who has already slaughtered her schoolmate Drew (Carmen Electra). She figures it must be the pedestrian her friends and her hit with their car the previous year and dumped in the ocean, assuming he was dead.
And then… argh, what’s the point? This isn’t a movie where the story matters. The thread of a plot is just there to hold together a series of more or less effective skits filled with cheap jokes. There are no characters to speak off, just caricatures waiting to get killed: Jon Abrahams is Cindy’s horny boyfriend Bobby, Regina Hall is the obnoxious Black princess Brenda, Shawn Wayans is her closeted homosexual football player boyfriend Ray, Shannon Elizabeth is voluptuous beauty queen Buffy, Lochlyn Munro is her dude Greg. Then there’s Cheri Oteri as reporter Gail Hailstorm and Dave Sheridan as Deputy Doofy, a drooling retard whose last scene will delight Kevin Spacey fans. Last but not least is Marlon Wayans, who steals most of his scenes as the dimwitted pothead Shorty Meeks.
I think Markley described best the thing with “Scary Movie” in his review when he wrote that “it suffers from joke abundance. Every little gag can’t be so funny so in between moments of laughter the audience must sit through lame attempts at humor.” Exactly. I smiled a lot during the film (hehe, Carmen Electra farted), I chuckled a few times (loved Shawn Wayans’ Matthew Lillard impersonation!)… Then again, some gags just had me staring at the screen with disbelief at how idiotic they were (isn’t the “Blair Witch” snot scene embarrassingly unfunny?), and it gets repetitive after half a dozen fart jokes, oral sex jokes and gay jokes.
As for the gross-out, how-did the-MPAA-let-that-fly moments, I found them more shocking and gross than funny or clever. Try as he might, writer-director Keenen Ivory Wayans is no Farrelly brother. “Scary Movie” is sporadically amusing, and maybe worth seeing for that, but this isn’t a film that I’d want to see again like, say, the much more inventive and smart “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut”.