Spoof movies were once a hilarious, witty, entertainment treat. Then the Wayans Brothers decided to take a swipe at it, creating travesties like Don’t Be A Menace and Scary Movie. Blinded to the fact that Scary Movie wasn’t funny, they made a sequel. It was even worse. Despite making money at the box office thanks to drunken, horny college frat boys across the world, the Wayans finally stopped. Then the inexcusable happened.
Following the miserable audience torturing failures of the first two Scary Movie flicks, career spoof-film-maker David Zucker decided to pick up the pieces the Wayans had left behind and give it a go. The resulting crapfest of lame humor that resulted harnessed some of the least capable spoof comedians on the planet to a poorly thought out script and offered up some of the most predictable set ups and lamest gags ever conceived.
What all three movies lack is a fundamental understanding that good spoof movies aren’t dumb, they’re actually pretty smart. The hilarity doesn’t come from the crudity or stupidity, but from wit, cleverness and the ability to make fun of something in an unusual or unexpected way. I certainly don’t expect the Wayans to be able to grasp this idea, but Zucker, the mastermind behind Airplane! and Top Secret! should know better.
It’s wishful thinking to hope that Zucker hasn’t made a movie spoofing frightening films but is instead mocking the horrific badness of Scary Movie 2. As much as I would like to credit him with the latter, the movie isn’t that smart. Adding insult to injury, Zucker has reincorporated all the raunchy gags that he removed for the theatrical release and called it Scary Movie 3.5. The result isn’t any funnier, simply raunchier and, if possible, dumber.
The movie’s biggest flaw lies with its characters and the shameful cast members tapped to play them. Anna Faris has been the leading lady for all three movies in the Scary Movie trilogy and for 3.5 she reprises her role as Cindy Campbell, the dimwitted piñata who is targeted for most of the story’s undercooked horror-gags. How exactly Anna Faris has been suckered into playing this limp role three times is beyond me. The only thing she gets to work with is a confused deer-in-the-headlights look which gets really old within the first ten minutes. Her co-star Regina Hall also returns as Brenda Meeks. She’s let off the hook as her character dies early on, replaced by a corpse that becomes the source of way too many tired physical gags. I would love to explain Anthony Andersons’s role to you except that he doesn’t really have one. He’s a sort of token black rapper character that pops up from time to time to muddle things up, dragging down both the comedy and cleverness of the movie several notches.
Most of the rest of the cast can be explained away by their physical traits. Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Anderson set the tone at the start of the film with their underdeveloped abilities to act and oversized…um…egos. Simon Rex, was cast for his ability to open his mouth really wide and take blows to the head without suffering any kind of noticeable brain damage. George Carlin, who any comedy director would love to have in his movie anyway, has his chosen role thanks to his ability to say “Pootie Tang” with a straight face.
Spoof veterans Leslie Nielsen and Charlie Sheen, who could’ve made much better choices in projects, do their best with what they’ve got, but even they can only do so much. It would seem Nielsen rewrote some of the scenes in which he appears. They’re the only ones coming close to the kind of passable humor that made his older spoof movies enjoyable. Sheen has the honor of being in the middle of one of the film’s funnier moments involving a railroad tie, two bowling balls and statue of Jesus. The rest of the film you can see the pain on his face. The movie sucks, his performance sucks, and he seems to know it.
Scary Movie 3.5 is chock full of lame joke after joke and one bad spoof after the next. Zucker took a backseat, letting his actors take control of the film and unfortunately most of them have absolutely no clue what they’re doing. It’s been nearly fifteen years since Zucker left off his spoof legacy with Naked Gun 33 1/3 and he seems to have lost his touch. As the audience, we’re the ones left holding the bag. Too bad it’s full of flaming dog poop and we have nowhere to throw it.
Scary Movie 3.5 is a shameless recycling of the Scary Movie 3 DVD release. In essence they’ve raided the deleted scenes section, swept up a few of the droppings from the cutting room floor, stitched them back into the film ala Dr. Frankenstein and are praying that drunken frat boys out there would double dip for an unrated version in hopes of seeing Pamela Anderson’s floatation devices pop out of their slings. Sorry boys. All you get are some extra unfunny jokes that take way too long to set up and had far too crude a pay off to make it into a PG-13 movie.
The list of extra features is identical to that of the Scary Movie 3 package. Among them are deleted and extended scenes, some of which are no longer deleted. The least they could have done was take them out of the deleted scene line up, but that would have cost more money I suppose. There’s an outtake/blooper reel which contains some footage from the deleted scenes section as well. Whoever edited the DVD wasn’t paying very close attention.
If the theatrical ending to the movie wasn’t lame enough for you, there’s an even worse alternative ending included. It involves Simon Rex turning into the Incredible Hulk and shoving aliens up his rear end while Leslie Nielsen soils himself forcing D. L. Hughley to change his diaper…and that’s the funny part.
Director, producer and writers gathered together to provide commentary for the movie, deleted scenes and alternate ending. They spend most of the time chuckling at just how bad their movie is, occasionally offering interesting tidbits and patting themselves and the actors on the back. It’s really not worth listening to unless you enjoy hearing four guys saying “Oh my God, what were we thinking” and “just when you thought we hit bottom” while laughing at their own lame jokes.
There are two behind the scenes featurettes, one regular version and one labeled “for real”. The first featurette is the usual talking heads of actors and crew yakking about the project. The second one is a more honest, amusing series of interviews full of moments like this one from Camryn Manheim: “You know, pretty much the whole film you wonder how this is going to work, you know? You get a sense like, this should be funny. When I’m reading it I can’t understand how it’s going to be funny. And so it doesn’t necessarily feel funny when you’re doing it, but they seem to thing it’s going to be funny.” Camryn, I know exactly how you feel.
The Scary Movie 3.5 Unrated release has a lot of bonuses, but few are worth watching. All in all it’s a fantastic package for people interested in low brow, unamusing gags, but I would still save your money anyway. After all, Scary Movie 4 is just around the corner.