|Scary Movie 4
2006 - PG-13 - 83 Mins.
|Director: David Zucker
|Producer: Craig Mazin and Robert K. Weiss
|Written By: Craig Mazin, Jim Abrahams and Pat Proft
|Starring: Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Craig Bierko, Anthony Anderson and Henry Mah
|Review by: Bill King
|Official Site: www.scarymovie.com/
I looked over the IMDb message board for 'Scary Movie 4' to see what people were saying before I started this review, and all I can say is that this pile of dog crap is unfortunately going to make enough money to turn a tidy profit, and the the result is that we will no doubt be seeing a 'Scary Movie 5.' What's sadder still is that David Zucker directed this monstrosity, and that Jim Abrahams' first screenplay in eight years is so dreadful. It makes 'Scary Movie 3' (which I kinda liked) look great by comparison. When the film it was over, I quickly walked out of the theater to avoid being bombarded by death rays emanating from all the teenyboppers' cell phones.
I didn't mean to flush my career down the toilet
There's a frightening pattern emerging here. Every few years, after the latest sci-fi and horror films are released, a 'Scary Movie' will come out to spoof them all. It wouldn't be so bad if there was any evidence that Zucker and Abrahams are still at the top of their game, but they're clearly not. There's no energy, no passion, no moments of brilliance from the two filmmakers who gave us "Airplane" and the "Naked Gun" series. Their 1984 film 'Top Secret!' is a masterpiece of comedy! Hard to believe after a screening of "Scary Movie 4" that these guys were even involved in that.
Like the previous entries in this series, 'Scary Movie 4' grabs with both hands from a variety of sources that may or may not have anything to do with scary movies. 'War of the Worlds' and 'The Grudge' are the chief inspiration, but there are other cultural references thrown in like the Mike Tyson infamous ear-biting incident and the iPod craze. The difference between this film and its predecessors is its lifeless progression, starting with a stupid dig at 'Saw' and proceeding through its jokes as if it was telling them out of a sense of obligation.
Anna Faris and Regina Hall reprise their roles as Cindy Campbell and Brenda Meeks (yeah, she's still alive), who once again have to endure another round of horrifying events. This time, spaceships (called tripods) rise from the ground to attack the population. Cindy receives a clue from a ghostly boy, indicating that his father knows how to defeat the aliens. The boy's father (Bill Pullman) is the leader of an isolated village modeled after M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Village.' In weaving these borrowed concepts into the plot, Zucker and Abraham fail miserably. The story makes virtually no sense. Accompanying the main narrative are many excursions into unrelated territory, as exemplified by an early scene designed solely to eliminate Charlie Sheen's character and to poke fun at viagra.
Most of the jokes in the film are either not funny or not original (I recognized one joke from an episode of "The Simpsons"). The drop in quality has little to do with the reduction in rating (R for parts 1 and 2, PG-13 for parts 3 and 4). 'Scary Movie 3,' also directed by Zucker, had some good moments and clever jokes. The problem has everything to do with execution. It's as if nobody cared enough to make a good movie. The guaranteed sequal audience shows up regardless of advance word of any weaknesses.
'Scary Movie 4' is a pitiful entry in a series that should have quit while it was ahead. Now, with the financial success of this otherwise lousy fourth entry, the producers will have a compelling reason to produce a fifth installment. I'm sure there's still some good work left in Zucker and Abrahams, but if "Scary Movie 4" is any indication, that work might involve sweeping out their collective garages.