Starring: Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Screenplay: Pat Profit, David Zucker
Comedy, Rated PG-13
Running Time: 85 minutes
(Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond)
Greg, we just saw Scary Movie 5. I’m still trying to process all the gags, carnage, and mayhem.
Scott, this is the fifth in the series and the first not to follow the escapades of recurring characters Cindy Campbell and Brenda Meeks. It was penned by Pat Profit and Airplane! veteran David Zucker. It’s a parody of several films including Mama and Black Swan. When you have one of the Zucker brothers involved you can expect an extreme farce. I was mildly disappointed.
The word ‘disappointed’ doesn’t exactly describe my reaction. But we’ll get to that later. Let’s run down the plot — as if it really mattered in a movie like this.
We start out with a bizarre bedroom scene involving Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, who play themselves in this movie. Sheen and Lohan are both haunted by an alien presence, who occupies Lohan’s body, forcing her to kill Sheen, whose three children then become missing. Later, Snoop Dogg and a friend discover the children in a Cabin in the Woods — yet another movie spoofed here. The three kids are then raised by Sheen’s brother Dan (Simon Rex) and his wife Jodie (Ashley Tisdale).
The movie then takes off parodying the heck out of Mama with paranormal activity such as the pool being overrun by automatic pool cleaners and pans falling from the kitchen ceiling. Meanwhile, Jodie is trying to get the lead in the local production of the ballet Black Swan. And that pretty much describes the whole film. From there it’s just one set up gag after another.
Greg, I really have mixed feelings about a movie like this. On the one hand, I appreciated the cleverness of the gags throughout. If you liked Airplane!, and you like parodies of scary movies, then this movie might be for you. I found myself chuckling here and there throughout most of the film.
But I also found myself looking at my watch several times, hoping the movie would end. It basically works in small chunks, the way that a Saturday Night Live skit does. But 90 minutes was hard to sit through.
I agree with you whole-heartedly. There were bits that were enjoyable, but usually they were the parts where Molly Shannon or Darrell Hammond from SNL provide cameos. And most of those bits were driven into the ground (like how everyone in the movie had a handi-cam and the Point of View was through the lens of either a handi-cam or security camera). And then there was the Cabin in the Woods scene where Jodie kept reading evil words and the Mormon Bible-thumpers upstairs turned into demons – over and over again. You’re right, the bits were fun – once. But 90 minutes of repeating bad gags was too much. This could have easily been a hilarious 30-minute short.
And therein lies the challenge of reviewing a movie like this. Like other gag-fests (e.g., Movie 43), it’s unfair to compare it to conventional movies that actually attempt to deliver a coherent story with legitimate characters. Let’s face it. The gags here are all that count and everything else serves as just an excuse to show the gags.
The filmmakers were clearly going for shock value. Sometimes seeing something shocking is funny, and sometimes it’s just plain dumb. Do we really need to see a baby’s head set on fire? Is it necessary to show Heather Locklear’s birthing fluids gush onto someone’s face? Or popsicles and toothbrushes shoved up people’s butts? Eww.
I have to disagree with you, somewhat. I think a good parody will stand up against a traditional movie. When I saw the first Airplane! movie I laughed for a week and went back for seconds. When David Zucker is attached to a film, I expect something special. I expect sharp, smart writing. But, as you say, Scary Movie 5 was just an excuse to see blood spew and body parts detach – much like actual horror movies, in fact. I laughed at a few places, but I can only give it 1 Reel out of 5. As for the heroes, they were absent – a mere shadow of the characters that were being parodied. I give Scary Movie 5 an unprecedented zero Heroes.
A good parody is hard to find these days. For me, the quintessential parody was 1999’s Galaxy Quest, a spoof of Star Trek that is every bit as good, if not better, than every Star Trek movie made.
Scary Movie 5 was no Galaxy Quest, and in fact it wasn’t even close. Scary Movie’s gags were fast and furious, and the cameo appearances of brand-name actors were somewhat amusing. But there wasn’t any meat on this bone. And I found myself gagging at the gags. Generously, I give this film 1 Reel out of 5. There were heroes (Dan and Jodie) but they were ridiculous heroes, and intentionally so. Ridiculous heroes get just 1 Hero out of 5.