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Overall Rating
2.81

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 25.71%
Just Average37.14%
Pretty Crappy: 30%
Sucks: 7.14%

7 reviews, 28 user ratings


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Scary Movie 4
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by Mel Valentin

"Twenty-thirty minutes in and 'Scary Movie 4' is DOA."
2 stars

Directed by David Zucker (the "Airplane," "Naked Gun" series) with the usual by-the-numbers, short-on-imagination approach to spoofs or parodies, "Scary Movie 4" is, you guessed it, the latest in the inexplicably popular "Scary Movie" franchise, which got its start back in 2000 with an extended parody of the meta-slasher "Scream" franchise. A quick, made-purely-for-profit sequel followed just a year later. It still did well, box-office wise, but underperformed relative to expectations. Out went the Wayans brothers (Damon, Shawn, and Marion) and in came David Zucker and an all-new writing team. The what can we parody question was answered by expanding the possibilities outside the horror universe. Anything, as long as it was popular, was fair game, so audiences got a meandering spoof of "8 Mile" in addition to spoofs of "The Ring," "Signs," and, to a lesser extent, "The Matrix" series.

That was then (2003), this is now (2006). Scary Movie 4 leans heavily on spoofs of War of the Worlds, The Village, Saw I and II, with a detour into Million Dollar Baby and Brokeback Mountain subplots. Thatís fine, as far that goes, but spoofs have to do two things, bring up memories of key scenes from the films being spoofed and adding a comedic twist, either by subverting expectations of how a scene will play out, throwing some physical humor into the mix, or both. Scary Movie 4 works, but only for about the first 20-30 minutes. Past that point, the desperately unfunny jokes pile up, so reading any further isnít exactly necessary (it is mandatory, though).

After a painfully overextended Saw parody featuring non-actors Dr. Phil McGraw and Shaquille O'Neal, Scary Movie 4 re-introduces the blonder-than-blonde Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris). She's still the loveable, if dim, character she's always been, walking into, and sometimes causing, one disastrous situation after another. Dropping her love interest from Scary Movie 3, George (Simon Rex), in a less-funny-as-the-skit wears on parody of Million Dollar Baby, along with George's older brother, Tom Logan (Charlie Sheen), via a Viagra-induced accident (actually one of the few laughter-inducing bits in the entire film), Cindy has decided to enter the home care profession, if for no other reason than the need to get Cindy into another horror-related situation.

This time out, Cindy takes a job as the nurse for a near-catatonic woman (Cloris Leachman, in an extended cameo). Cue scatological humor related to old people and their lack of control over their body functions. Cindy has another, more worrisome problem, the out-of-place ghosts (out of place for New Jersey, that is) that haunt her patient's home. Cue spoofs of the ghosts from The Grudge, the white-as-a-sheet, caterwauling Japanese boy and an older male ghost/contortionist who prefers to roll down stairs over walking or simply floating in mid-air. Cindy soon discovers that the boy-ghost can be only laid to rest through the intervention of his missing father, Henry Hale (Bill Pullman, spoofing the emotionally constipated character he played in The Grudge).

Right next door, Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko), a New Jersey longshoreman, struggles with his recalcitrant children, a hostile ex-wife (Molly Shannon), and, get this, an alien invasion. Before long, his friends and neighbors are getting zapped out of their clothes by alien tripods, Tom and his children are on the run, and, wait, let's back up a second. Tom meets Cindy while she's in her patient's backyard and Tom is playing catch with his rebellious teenage son. Tom and Cindy connect, more or less, but before they can consummate their relationship, Tom is gathering his children, hoping to get out before the aliens flatten his neighborhood and Cindy is having a conversation with the less-than-threatening boy-ghost about how to free him from the curse and save the world from the alien invasion.

Scary Movie 4 splits up and splits off Tom and Cindy into two separate storylines. Tom's misadventures closely parody War of the Worlds, with Tom and his family turned into refugees. Tom and his son are eventually separated, Tom takes up the invitation of an unhinged madman (insert celebrity cameo here). Meanwhile, Cindy runs into her old, once dead, friend, Brenda (Regina Hall), an Iíll-hump-anything-male, take-no-crap African-American woman. They slip into an entirely different world that parodies The Village, complete with not one, but two village idiots (one of them played by the over-employed Chris Elliot). Eventually, the two storylines merge again, back where we began, in Saw territory.

In another subplot (with a nod to Independence Day and/or Mars Attacks), the blundering president of the United States, Baxter Harris (Leslie Nielsen, reprising his Scary Movie 3 role), steps into a situation he doesnít understand or can control. And wait, didnít I mention the Brokeback Mountain spoof? Itís there, just as an add-on diversion, a flashback sequence involving two characters back from the last sequel, master theoreticians/dialecticians, Mahalik (Anthony Anderson) and C.J. (Kevin Hart). What about the Oprah Winfrey (Debra Wilson) clone youíve seen in the TV ads? Good question. Sheís there, in a throwaway gag that takes aim at Tom Cruise's much-discussed meltdown on Oprah Winfrey's chat show last year. Itís actually one of the best gags in Scary Movie 4, mostly because it goes over-the-top and back again.

Whatís left to discuss? Not much, actually. If you liked "Scary Movie 1,2, or 3," you might, you just might like "Scary Movie 4." Itís probably the weakest of the series, though, relying on tired, overused jokes, missing punchlines, and when everything else fails, a semi-famous starlet with intestinal trouble (this scene played far, far better in the criminally underseen, underappreciated "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle." Actually, if youíre in the mood for lowbrow humor (with a mix of great sight gags and pointed social commentary), give "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" a rental (or see it again, if only for the brilliant turning-a-bag-of-ganja-into-a-life-partner joke).

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14308&reviewer=402
originally posted: 04/14/06 03:26:29
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User Comments

3/18/16 Charles Tatum Meh. 3 stars
4/19/13 How did this shit get made? Seriously. 1 stars
9/05/08 Connie Lingus This movie really smelled alot 1 stars
8/22/08 PAUL SHORTT THREE'S A TRILOGY, FOUR'S A BORE 2 stars
3/24/08 Isaac M. Baranoff Please stop making these movies. 2 stars
8/10/07 fools♫gold Quite clever and funny (and even underrated) compared to the previous 3. 4 stars
2/27/07 Beau Could have been a lot better! could have exaggerated spoofs more. Im a fan of anna faris 3 stars
2/17/07 David Pollastrini so bad it's scary 2 stars
10/30/06 Jacko wacko shit storyline,but good 4 stars
10/23/06 Phil S.M. 1 = good, 2 = crap, 3 = O.K., 4 = rubbish, rubbish, rubbish! 1 stars
10/05/06 Kara Typical Scary movie theme, great 1 liners 2 stars
8/27/06 action movie fan continuation of horror movie spoof==znay and loud.spoof micheal jackson too 3 stars
8/17/06 Mike I think I'm giving up on the Scary Movies unless the Wayans Bros. come back. 2 stars
7/04/06 Cheryl Mayfield Seein Dr. Phil cut his foot off & hearin Carmen Electra take a monstr dump make it worth it 4 stars
5/28/06 saiid not bad 2 stars
5/17/06 Sheen Krist It was better then Scary Movie 3 but still wasn't all that great. 3 stars
5/09/06 y2mckay The same old shit - funny in spurts, but completely disposable humor. 3 stars
5/08/06 Tranquil Worst of the series. No laughs to be found. Good recreation of spoofed movies visually. 2 stars
5/03/06 Littlepurch Was expecting it to be crap but was pleasantly surprised. Regina Hall was best, as usual. 4 stars
4/29/06 jonathan_223 Worse than even the second installment. 2 stars
4/27/06 Mase Regina Hall is the secret weapon of the series, she may be worth the price of admittance. 3 stars
4/20/06 Becky Bierko is the "oh I know that guy from where?" but he's great! Pretty damn funny flick 4 stars
4/18/06 sean Hey, Mel, be fair, it wasn't Damon Wayans, it was Keenan Ivory 2 stars
4/17/06 KingNeutron Some LOL moments, but it fell short of my expectations. Nothing in teh credits 2 wait 4. 3 stars
4/15/06 Ole Man Bourbon Some funny jokes. Funny scene with Charlie Sheen and a bottle of vodka. 4 stars
4/15/06 Eevil Wolfie It's ok i guess. Could have been better.. 3 stars
4/14/06 Duffyboy666 Packed with jokes. Some funny, some stupid but it makes you laugh and thats the main thing! 1 stars
4/12/06 Sean Crap 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Apr-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-Aug-2006

UK
  14-Apr-2006

Australia
  13-Apr-2006



[trailer] Trailer


Directed by
  David Zucker

Written by
  Craig Mazin
  Pat Proft

Cast
  Anna Faris
  Regina Hall
  Craig Bierko
  Leslie Nielsen
  Carmen Electra
  Shaquille O'Neal



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