Saturday, January 13, 2007

Movie Review: Scary Movie 3 ½ Stars

The sadly underrated and unfairly snubbed Wayan Family comedy mafia has once again pointed their satiric minds at the trendy in films, this time lampooning the recent spate of teen horror films launched by Scream. Unlike other parody films, Scary Movie (not-so-coincidentally the first draft title of Scream) doesn’t merely spoof the genre (although it does that extremely well), Scary Movie also sets a tone, a tone that is incredibly creepy, delightfully raunchy and, more-often-than-not, guffaw funny.

Combining character-types and plots from Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, a group of college students (Shawn Wayans, Shannon Elizabeth, Lochlyn Munro, Ana Faris, Marlon Wayans) are terrorized by a masked killer. Ambitious newswoman Gale Hailstorm (Cheri Oteri) attempts to get the scoop while the local sheriff (Kurt Fuller) and his retarded deputy Doofy (Dave Sheridan) attempt to catch the killer.

The script for Scary Movie came from two separate screenplays: Scream If You Know What I Did Last Halloween by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer and I Screamed Because Friday the 13th Fell on Halloween by Shawn and Marlon Wayans, Phil Beauman and Buddy Johnson. That may be what keeps the Scary Movie from achieving the greatness of director Keenan Ivory Wayans’ earlier I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.

Scary Movie feels like two different movies at times. There’s one creepy, naughty Scary Movie that out-self-reflects Scream by reflecting on Scream’s self-reflexiveness. Unfortunately, this Scary Movie is too often interrupted by the obtrusive old school sight gags and crammed-in, senseless references. That Scary Movie seems like just another feeble parody in the High School High vein.

That being said, Scary Movie is dense with comedy. Dave Sheridan’s hilarious dig at David Arquette, Kurt Fuller’s straightlaced yet deviant sheriff and Shawn Wayans’ obviously gay jock are hilarious, committed performances. And when the satire hits its mark, it kills.

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