150 – Scary Movie 3

Scary Movies 1 and 2 had more Wayanses than you can shake a really big stick at. Scary 3 forgoes the Wayans factor and instead employs the Airplane! factor, as it’s directed by David Zucker, part of the creative team behind Airplane!, Hot Shots!, The Naked Gun!, and other exclamatory titles. (Even Leslie Nielsen, who appeared in Airplane! and has made a career out of similar roles, turns up here as well.)

So with that pedigree at work, it would be understandable if expectations were a little high for this movie. Let’s check the scoreboard. Scary Movie 1: a lot of fun, did a very good job spoofing self-serious horror movies. Scary Movie 2: same crew, awful result – totally immemorable. Scary Movie 3, then, should be as good as if not better than the first movie, if only for the fine comedic chops of the director.

SM3 parodies three movies, for the most part: The Ring, 8 Mile, and Signs. There’s also some Matrix tossed in for good measure – these movies are known for their kitchen-sink approach. From The Ring, you have the whole bit about the tape that kills those who watch it and the bit about the girl down the well; from 8Mile, you have the I-wanna-be-a-white-rapper bit, with Simon Rex perfectly pantomiming Eminem; and from Signs you have that whole aliens-are-coming-see-the-crop-circles bit. There are plenty of pop culture references, including an eerie stand-in for Michael Jackson.

The problem is that the jokes are scattershot, as if someone loaded a BB gun full of humor but removed the casing, thus causing quips and pranks to hit some targets but miss others by a long shot. Movies like this that rely on a fast pace, physical comedy, and a script full of everything the writers can lay their hands on. And because of this reliance, these movies tend to be – exactly like their jokes – hit or miss. For every Hot Shots!, there’s a Top Secret!. This is because the law of averages catches up to the screenwriter – not every joke can be funny, and the more jokes are tossed around, the higher the risk that they won’t be funny. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have a rapid-fire funny movie – see the aforementioned Airplane! and, for you older-film buffs, movies like His Girl Friday that lived off the rapid-fire humor.

The basic plot has bright-eyed TV reporter Cindy (Anna Faris) breaking a story about mysterious crop circles on a farm outside Washington. The owner of the farm, Tom (Charlie Sheen), is a former minister whose wife died in a tragic accident. Meanwhile, people die a week after watching a particular weird videotape. Somehow, it all ties in together.

Sheen seems to be making a living out of lampooning himself and anyone else, and he turns in his usual good work here. At this point in his career, you know what you’re going to get from Charlie Sheen. Faris is appealing as the intrepid reporter, exuding both charm and cuteness in equal amounts – but not so much that you’ll go into a diabetic shock.

Besides Nielsen, among those who show up for small (or even cameo) roles include Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Jeremy Piven, Camryn Manheim, Darrell Hammond, Simon Cowell, Denise Richards, Queen Latifah (one of the few who rose above her material), Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, George Carlin, Ja Rule, and a host of rappers, including Macy Gray, Redman, Method Man, Master P, and Raekwon. With all those recognizable, you wind up with a mishmash; the actors and rappers are overwhelmed by their celebrity (except for Latifah, who is clearly slumming) and are nothing more than distractions, for the most part.

But even without the myriad celebrity cameos, this is just not a winner. It’s not as bad as the second Scary Movie, but it pales in comparison with the first – and it’s leagues worse than most of the previous Zucker comedies. There are some funny moments (including a hilarious wake!), and some fine physical comedy, but the film mostly falls flat.

Scary Movie 3: **

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One Response to “150 – Scary Movie 3”

  1. http://www.horrormoviereviews.org/ Says:

    http://www.horrormoviereviews.org/

    Get great horror movie reviews here ….

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