Folks, if imitation is the sincerest form of Flattery... where does that leave the Scary Movie franchise now that it's lasted longer than the Scream series it was created to mock?
Luckily Scary Movie 4 is funny. It's very funny. Laugh out loud funny. But it's not the smartest thing in the world. It's not the smartest thing in the room... it's not even the smartest thing on the row you're sitting in. To a great extent, Scary Movie 4 is an exact collection of clones with lots of slapstick, twisted situations and confused looks from the cast. In short, David Zucker is, without doubt, made of sterner stuff. After all... this is the dude who directed Airplane!
However, he does have on his side a cast of quality jokers who sell the half-jokes with every goofy expression, feigned shock and mock-flamboyant romantic moment. Yep, Anna Faris is back as Cindy Campbell in all her wide-eyed and innocent cuteness. Her nephew has gone all Jarhead and her hubby (Simon Rex' George) has bitten the mat in a somewhat familiar Million Dollar Boxing Match. Just when the poor BABE is about to get her life back on track, she witnesses George's brother Tom (Charlie Sheen) "do himself" in (most uniquely and... Grudgeingly) and her new love interest (also named Tom and played by Craig Bierko) keeps seeing Aliens Invading... when he's not hitting her in the face with nerf balls.
If it makes you feel better, Regina Hall's Brenda Meeks was only MOSTLY dead, and is more than willing to lend a sexy hand and a profane quip here and there. But can Cindy's Wit and Brenda's Cooch save the world from the Alien Jigsaw Brokeback Boxers who hold a Grudge against the entire Village? Like the question of how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll Center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.
As you can see, Director Zucker (with screenwriters Craig Mazin and Jim Abrahams) had more material to borrow from than your average Mattei/ Fulci/ Fragasso co-production! It's always fun to see how they (and their series predecessors) combine so many varied and divergent spoof plotlines into one cohesive whole. I mean, the puppet from Saw involving himself in the plot of The Grudge which leads Cindy and Brenda to The Village during the tripod attack from The War of the Worlds... it's not the sort of thing that easily comes to mind. Of course... that shows in the script, and "Cohesive" is a relative term. It goes on like that, too, with our intrepid team recapping Brokeback Mountain (courtesy of Kevin Hart and Anthony Anderson as our Two Gay Men Having Sex!), skewering the Tom Cruise Couch Vaulting incident from Oprah, and just about any other movie that made more than a "Battleship" splash before wrap-time on Scary Movie 4.
But as funny and cute as so many of these parts are, the film feels like barely taped together montages of stolen material, where the dull parts are extremely dull and the audience is waiting for more scooby snacks upon which to munch. (That last line was bad... even for me!) Where funny lines and situations fail, Abrahams, Mazin and Zucker throw in don't-try-this-at-home violent slapstick, most commonly aimed toward children (and, yeah, the Michael Jackson impersonator returns). Where that fails, throw in a cameo appearance by anyone from the pool of Chingy, Dr. Phil McGraw, Shaquille O'Neal, Carmen Electra, Chris Elliott, Cloris Leachman, Michael Madsen, Leslie Nielsen, Bill Pullman, Molly Shannon, Conchita Campbell, Fabolous, Lil' Jon, Youngbloodz, Dave Attell, James Earl Jones and David Zucker himself (as the voice of "Zoltar"). Sound like gratuities? You're damned right, bucko. No nudity, but plenty of cameos, blown lines and gross out humor.
To be sure it's a mixed bag, but it's one of those mixed bags that's pretty much worth seeing. True this is a silly and mind-numbing comedy, but it's just what the doctor ordered when you want to kick back, turn the brain off and just laugh. I did, and I had a great, great time. Yes, Zucker and Abrahams have done much better work in the past, but tune in, turn off and burn out... at worst you've got the quirky hotness of Anna Faris to enjoy. Two and One Half Stars out of Five for Scary Movie 4, the funny, yet idiotic Spoof of everything under the Shaq. I'm closing this review now because I just had a great idea for a new series called "Sexy Movie". Anna Faris still gets to star, but Carmen Electra's recurring role is beefed up (no pun intended). We'll also pull in Pam Anderson and Jen McCarthy from Scary Movie 3 to reprise their roles, but this time as House Servants to the scantily clad Regina Hall. And the closest thing to a "Villain" we've got is the double threat of the unclothed Marcella Twins, Jade and Nyomi, who lead inter-sorority Panty Raids for two full hours. Yeah... Sexy Movie 69! I'm writing that script now. Who cares what we spoof in that one? I could scarcely be more excited than I am right now. See you in the next farcical reel!
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