If you liked Scary Movie, go see Scary Movie 2. If you didn't
like Scary Movie, don't go see Scary Movie 2. Now go away kid,
ya bother me.
(Reader tugs on reviewer's sleeve)
you didn't see Scary Movie, huh? Okay, fine.
Scary Movie 2 is a cross between two genres that have worn out their
welcome some time ago: 1) the gross-out comedy (Remember how funny There's
Something About Mary was? Now remember how quickly Hollywood drove that
genre into the ground?) and 2) the spoof (With the exception of Austin Powers,
this one's been deceased for some time. When Mel Brooks, the Scorsese of the
genre, makes something as boring as 1995's Dracula: Dead and Loving It,
it's time to burn the corpse of the movie spoof on a pyre of Mad Magazines).
Me, Myself, and Irene didn't perform as expected. Say It Isn't So
and Freddy Got Fingered tanked. National Lampoon and others are still
making spoofs, but they're mostly direct-to-video. So, at a time when these
movies are dead on arrival, what made Scary Movie such a success?
Well, for one thing, the Wayans brothers bring a certain
to the table. There is no joke too nasty to tell, no shot too cheap to take.
They shoehorn every movie reference and gag-inducing gag they can get into those
90 minutes. My guess is that it's this energy that has struck a chord with audiences.
But to those who don't completely buy into that mentality, it can be a bit off-putting.
When I saw Scary Movie, I spent half of the time laughing out loud, and
the other half of the time wondering why the hell I was in the theater. Scary
Movie 2 is more of the same. Only the first Scary Movie had something
extra going for it that Scary Movie 2 doesn't have: novelty.
Okay, maybe my frame of reference for this type of comedy is a little old
school: Mel Brooks, Monty Python, Naked Gun, Airplane! (I still
laugh whenever I even think about Ted Striker's "drinking problem").
Sometimes, gross is damn funny, such as the Exorcist-inspired barf-o-rama
at the beginning of the film, but there's only so many bodily fluids I can take
before I reach my, ahem, saturation point.
The cool thing about Scary Movie 2 is its parodies of other films.
Spoofs of The Haunting, Poltergeist, Final Destination,
Nightmare on Elm Street, Charlie's Angels, Evil Dead 2,
Hollow Man, and more. But Scary Movie 2 usually goes for the broadest
laughs possible, while the funniest stuff is sometimes a bit more subtle, like
the John Woo doves in the wheelchair duel sequence, the resemblance of the ghost
to a certain Orson Welles character, and the re-creation of the scene in countless
movies where a person in a dark place lights a candle that illuminates the room
far more than is physically possible. The true wit in a spoof comes not from
imitation, but a keen observation of the absurdities inherent in the source
material, and Scary Movie 2 is too often just about imitation.
It looks like the cast of Scary Movie 2, which includes Tim Curry,
Chris Elliot, James Woods, Tori Spelling, Richard Moll, David Cross, and Shawn
and Marlon Wayans (Marlon Brando backed out at the last minute) had a hell of
a lot of fun making this movie. Probably more fun than you'll have watching
it, unfortunately. Then again, what do I know? The audience in the theater (A
good portion of them under 17) laughed like a self-medicated dentist.
It's apparent that the makers of Scary Movie 2 are intelligent enough
to be clever. But given the choice between cleverness and yet another oral sex
joke, they'll go for the oral sex joke every time. A quick look at the script
(cover your eyes, kids): race joke, peepee joke, poopoo joke, sex joke, vomit
joke, race joke, penis joke, penis joke, penis joke, penis joke, cripple joke,
cripple joke, cripple joke, cripple joke, cripple joke, fetish sex joke, girl-who-doesn't-change-her-underwear
joke, oral sex joke, oral sex joke, anal sex joke, oral sex joke, sex joke,
camel toe joke, cripple joke, race joke, ejaculation joke, oral sex joke.
Now, don't get me wrong. I like a good cripple joke as much as the average
insensitive fully ambulatory person does. But you don't need to settle for Scary
Movie 2. There is such a thing as edgy humor that pushes the boundaries
of taste and is smart at the same time. Instead of going to see Scary Movie
2, I recommend that you watch South Park, or a couple of Kevin Smith