'Scary Movie 2' and 'Scary Movie 3': Terrible Potential, Squandered

Compared to Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie 2 is positively clever, highbrow comedy, full of subtle turns of phrase and razor sharp wit.

Scary Movie 2

Director: Keenan Ivory Wayans
Cast: Anna Faris, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, David Cross, Tim Curry, Regina Hall, Chris Elliott
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated: R
Release date: 2011-09-20

Scary Movie 3

Director: David Zucker
Cast: Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Regina Hall, Simon Rex, Anthony Anderson
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated: NR
Release date: 2011-09-20

The whole reason I wanted to review the Blu-ray releases of Scary Movie 2 and Scary Movie 3 is the opening scene of number 2. As a stand-alone entity, it's nothing short of amazing cinema.

A parody of The Exorcist, it features Andy Richter leading a bunch of well to do honkeys in a rousing, watered down version of Mystikal’s 2000 hit, “Shake Ya Ass”. Natasha Leone pops up in the Linda Blair role, only the rug peeing incident is ramped up a few notches—let’s just stay a life preserver may be in order.

James Woods, however, steals the show as Father McFeely, a part that originally belonged to none other than Marlon Brando. Brando actually did a day of shooting, but had to recuse himself and step away for health reasons. Watching Woods exorcise foul demons from his bowels—unleashing the dogs of war, as he puts it—is crude, foul, and certainly not for those in the audience that are sensitive to the sounds of explosive diarrhea. It's also over the top hilarious if you’re into that sort of thing, and sets the mood like few other scenes.

While mildly amusing at times, the rest of Scary Movie 2 never lives up to the gross out promise of that initial scene. The main core of the cast from Scary Movie reprise their roles—Cindy (Anna Faris, who has made a career out of these films), Shorty and Ray (Marlon and Shawn Wayans, because what the hell else were they going to do?), and Brenda (Regina Hall) are all back. Thing are way different this time, however, now they’re all in college instead of high school. When you throw David Cross, Tim Curry, and Chris Elliott into the cast, and there is some potential, though that potential is largely squandered.

There are some high points, though they mostly revolve around Elliott’s shrunken hand, but the movie is less concerned with problems like plot and character than it is with riffing on genre tropes, both new and old. There's a creepy butler, a haunted house, a manor ghost, a bunch of nubile young co-eds… you get the general idea. While Scary Movie 2 can be funny, it’s nothing brilliant, ground breaking, or even particularly memorable, but it is entertaining in the stupid, mindless kind of way.

In the interim between Scary Movie 2 and Scary Movie 3 the franchise changed hands. The reigns passed from the Wayans family to the Zuckers, the family responsible for classic spoofs like Airplane!, Top Secret, and the Naked Gun series. If you can imagine a bunch of out of touch middle-aged filmmakers trying desperately to be cool and connect with the kids, though they have no idea what they’re doing, then you have a pretty good idea what Scary Movie 3 is all about.

Scary Movie 3 spends the majority of the 75 minute run time (the box says 85 minutes, but the credit sequence somehow clocks in at more than nine minutes) toothlessly mocking movies that were already so bad it was like they were mocking themselves, like Signs. Scary Movie 3 is in line with the unfortunate cottage industry of spoof films that it unfortunately helped father; atrocious fare like Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, and Vampires Suck.

Charlie Sheen plays a farmer, but this is no Hot Shots, not even Part Deux. He used to be a priest—a fact that has no bearing on anything, he could just as easily have been a former Rockette—and has a white-boy rapper brother. Cindy is back, again, this time as a news reporter. Some things happen. None of them are funny. There are some really timely jabs at The Ring. Those don’t work, either. But there is an endless parade of celebrity cameos, like Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, George Carlin, Ja Rule, and many more. So if that floats your boat…

Scary Movie 3 is little more than a random collection of gags and bits that falter miserably on every level and fail to entertain. Compared to Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie 2 is positively clever, highbrow comedy, full of subtle turns of phrase and razor sharp wit. Which should say something, because Scary Movie 2 is none of those things.

On the plus side, both Blu-rays come loaded with bonus features. Scary Movie 2 is accompanied by five featurettes that cover an array of topics, like behind the scenes concerns, special effects, and the make up. And if you just can’t get enough, there are a collection of deleted scenes and alternate versions.

Scary Movie 3 is even more packed. A commentary track with director David Zucker, producer Robert K. Weiss, and writers Craig Mazin and Pat Proft, is the centerpiece of the extras, but there are also outtakes and bloopers, making of featurettes, and alternate, deleted, and extended scenes. Some of these even have optional commentary tracks of their own. All in all, there are a lot of baubles crammed into one slim little package, none of which make Scary Movie 3 any better.

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