By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The first four scared up some dollars, and so will number five. But after thirteen years, the Scary Movie flicks comprise one sorry franchise.
Scary Movie (2000) was dreadful. Scary Movie 2 (2001) was worse. Scary Movie 3 (2003) was slightly improved but still lame.
And Scary Movie 4 (2006) lived down to the standards set by its immediate predecessor.
So when I tell you that Scary Movie 5 is the worst of the bunch, we’re talking about one smelly, bottom-swimming fish.
Scary Movie 5, after a seven-year intermission, is another anything-for-a-laugh, lowbrow, plotless dud of a takeoff of horror films (including such recent releases as Mama and Evil Dead).
But it takes potshots at what seem like randomly chosen popular-culture titles from various genre as well — for example, Black Swan, Inception, Rise from the Planet of the Apes, and the not-even-made-yet Fifty Shades of Grey.
But there’s an astonishing shortage of any kinds of laughs or even smiles.
The primary target of this brief-sketch hodgepodge is the found-footage horror genre best personified by the Paranormal Activity franchise.
The cast, some of them hired as much for their off-screen infamy as their thespian talent, includes Ashley Tisdale (in for series-regular-until-now Anna Faris), Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Snoop Dogg, Molly Shannon, Mac Miller, Darrell Hammond, Jerry O’Connell, Katt Williams, Simon Rex, Mike Tyson, Kendra Wilkinson, Terry Crews, Heather Locklear, and Usher.
And it’s narrated by a Morgan Freeman sound-alike. To say that there are more performers than chuckles in this collection of cameos would be to understate the case to what can only be described as a laughable degree.
Director Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man, Undercover Brother, Soul Men) takes the directorial reins of this scattershot spoof from Airplane!’s David Zucker, who directed the third and fourth installments after Keenen Ivory Wayans was at the helm of the first two.
But no matter how much Lee-way we afford him, we still end up in the laugh-free zone.
Meanwhile, Zucker is on the writing (along with Pat Proft) and producing team this time out, while Marlon Wayans has been busy moving from behind-the-scenes of the Scary Movie series to January’s A Haunted House, which is very, very, very similar in almost every way to Scary Movie 5.
Got all that?
Anyway, you’d think that in a movie that’s nothing but jokes, one or two ought to more or less accidentally produce a giggle. You’d think. But when the level of desperation and amateurishness is this high, any potential moments to cherish are just suffocated.
Merciful brevity, however, is easily this PG-13-rated mishmash’s most attractive quality: it’s just over 80 minutes long (although even at that length it’s a bad half-hour too excruciating).
So we’ll frighten just ½ a star out of 4 for the sorry smart-alecky sendup sequel, Scary Movie 5.
To be fair, I guess I should mention that I had a bad seat: it was facing the screen.