Saturday, May 13, 2006

Scary Movie 4

SCARY MOVIE 4 (David Zucker, 2006)

Three years of horror movies have piled up, which means it must be time for another SCARY MOVIE. Anna Faris returns for more parodies and bodily function jokes. SCARY MOVIE 4 combines the main threads of THE GRUDGE and WAR OF THE WORLDS to advance the action, not that storyline is of any concern for these films. While caring for an old woman in a haunted home, Faris’ Cindy Campbell falls for dock worker Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko). They’re separated when the planet is attacked and a bunch of lame jokes break out.

The SCARY MOVIE franchise continues to lumber along like a zombie. On cue one likely target after another is trotted out to be laughed at. The humor is supposed to come from the recognition that another movie or entertainment world incident from the pages of Us Weekly is having fun poked at it. Isn’t it hilarious that SCARY MOVIE 4 makes such biting comic observations that Shaquille O’Neal can’t shoot free throws, that some people think Dr. Phil is a loud mouth phony, and that Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch? SCARY MOVIE 4 doesn’t even hold to its genre, including a needless BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN parody.

Director David Zucker’s career has been nothing but diminishing returns since the NAKED GUN films from the late 80s and early 90s. One senses that he could cobble together these sting-free jokes in his sleep. What made Zucker’s earlier films funnier was that the parody material wasn’t depended on for all of the laughs. There are some moments in SCARY MOVIE 4 where that isn’t the case, but too much of it is about duplicating other movies rather than creating funny characters and situations.

Puns are considered the lowest form of comedy, but limp film parodies like this are making a bid for the title. To Zucker's credit, unlike DATE MOVIE and other entries in the SCARY MOVIE series, SCARY MOVIE 4 passes its time reasonably well because at least it has a basic storyline and draws a few laughs. There will be a never-ending supply of horror flicks to keep SCARY MOVIES coming for years, but just because they can be made doesn't mean they should.

Grade: C-

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