By Shane M. Dallmann
My excuse, if I must have one, is that I saw the other four on the big screen and that I’m always at least mildly interested in what David Zucker can come up with in the name of big-screen parody. Of course, SCARY MOVIE V… wait. Let’s talk about that title. See, this is the fifth film in the series, so the title SCARY MOVIE hits the screen with the letter “V” lit up as the Roman numeral. So the TV announcer doesn’t have to announce it as “Five” and they can essentially go back to calling this SCARY MOVIE as if it were the first one (it HAS been a while). And get this… they’ll get to do the exact same thing next time with “VI!” But I’m calling this SCARY MOVIE V for the sake of convenience. What I was GOING to say is that Zucker is essentially a figurehead here… this new movie was actually directed by Malcolm D. Lee (cousin of Spike himself).
Now, that trailer? It barely resembles what actually hit the screen at the last minute. We DO start with the long-talked-about Charlie Sheen/Lindsey Lohan bed romp, but Charlie does NOT get repeatedly “racked” on the bedroom door, and they actually come up with some funny stuff they didn’t already show you a hundred times.
Another thing I couldn’t tell at all from the trailer is that the basic ‘template’ for the parody is none other than the recent surprise hit MAMA. Anna Faris is out and Ashley Tisdale is in–she’s fine as the Jessica Chastain clone, while Simon Rex plays the clueless husband who adopts the late Charlie Sheen’s three feral children. No further ‘plot’ description necessary… just a series of touchstones. Tisdale goes off on her own BLACK SWAN arc (good for a chuckle or two) while Rex participates in a RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES scenario that goes absolutely nowhere. Back at home, they naturally go the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY route (Rex is constantly clobbered by frying pans while trying to set up security cameras, etc. etc.), and they have an overweight, superstitious Hispanic maid who supplies the bulk of the grossout/caca jokes (no shortage there, surprise surprise).
The “stick this end in your mouth” bit from the trailer is missing in action, but a remarkable Leonardo DiCaprio lookalike is still on hand for a pointless INCEPTION-inspired detour (not having been a part of the book phenomenon, I couldn’t tell that they were trying to spoof FIFTY SHADES OF GREY even when they dubbed the line “My name’s Christian Grey” onto the soundtrack for the benefit of the dream character). This and other bits continue to fly without any real payoff. Oh, and it doesn’t help at all that ever since Zucker came up with the genius “singing nun” sequence in AIRPLANE! that he apparently keeps trying to top it by subjecting small children to brutal slapstick and other indignities. Really? How many times can you watch a little girl get punched in the face? It honestly isn’t that FUNNY no matter what contortions you send her into or what goofy noises you put on the soundtrack! Oh, and she sticks a popsicle… never mind.
The PG-13 film aims low and lands at the bottom almost every time, despite the occasional smile-inducer (okay, I liked the “pool vac” party). And yet, there’s one sequence that ALMOST makes the whole stupid thing worth sitting through. If you thought MAMA was recent? The people who made this obviously caught the very first sneak preview of the new EVIL DEAD remake and went IMMEDIATELY to work recreating the set and props… they were so desperate to get in on this one that they really TRIED to come up with inspired spoof material–and actually succeeded with a hilarious AND splatter-iffic sendup sequence near the end of this hodgepodge!
Matinee if you’re desperate. Wait for the DVD and skip directly to the good stuff if you’re a bit more patient.