"Scary Movie 5" - Feature Film Review
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Starring: Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Erica Ash, Molly Shannon, Heather Locklear, Jerry O'Connell, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan
Written by: Pat Proft, David Zucker
You'll spend the entire time wishing the Morgan-Freeman-sound-a-like could narrate this film off the cliff they keep referring to. The entire Scary Movie franchise is predicated on jokes that are meant to engender laughter and instant recognition in the time they are released in; hence the slew of parodies of recent (and popular) films/characters/actors, as well as the older gags. While the franchise is no great work of art, it has had its moments (namely, parts 1 and 3). Those films elicited some laughter from a normal, healthy and non-stoned audiences. You won't be able to say the same for this film; half the gags are late, the other half look like they're trying too hard/were not even devised properly. Shock and gross-out gags don't even reach their full potential in this film (a stray toothbrush here, a shot of a hoover sending projectile vomit there), even the pop culture references are out of touch. The main plot - and using the word is a special kind of mercy - is barely there; the film seems to be digging heels into the ground and refusing to give up the goods. For veterans such as Zucker, this feels like a worn-out and apathetic attempt at dredging up old gags and styles from greats like "Airplane!" and even from earlier Scary Movies (a few gags will bring up nostalgic feelings of Zucker's direction of the third installment). For newcomer Malcom D. Lee - who is not only the cousin of eminent director Spike Lee, but is also the director of the lukewarmly received "Soul Men"- it is a train wreck of a catastrophe.
You know that awkward feeling you get, when you go up to see a comic open for another headliner or better act, and they bomb? They've been opening for absolutely ages, but they never seem to get anywhere? They try to use topical jokes, but completely miss what their audience wants and there's a lot of eerie silence till the announcement comes that the opening act has finished? That's kind of what sitting through "Scary Movie 5" is like. Except it is so much worse.
The story 'follows' (or is forced into an-almost-narrative by the Morgan-Freeman-type guy) Ashley Tisdale as 'Jody Sanders', a punk rocker who is the wife of the tragic brother of Charlie Sheen - who unwittingly stars as himself. Charlie's brother, Dan Sanders, played by Simon Rex, gains custody of Charlie's children after he and Lindsay Lohan (also appearing as herself) are attacked and Charlie disappears under mysterious circumstances. The children are initially thought to be lost, but as Snoop Dogg (or Lion?) wonders around a forest with Mac Miller, they are forced to take refuge in The Cabin In The Woods (a pun that is forced through gritted teeth by Mac) - where they happen upon the children. The story follows the family's struggle to adjust as they battle their way through a reservoir of cliche's and lost gags - the main premise following the haunting presence in the house they come to inhabit. Jody's personal narrative, other than coming to terms with the three 'feralesque' children that are now in her care - concerns her inadvertent desire to dance in a local ballet production of Swan Lake - the clear throwback to "Black Swan". Dan's own narrative deals with gags relating to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes", with gags so mistimed that I'm not even sure they were intended to be funny - a scene with a newscaster and him hearing his wife inadvertently reveal her affair on air was so badly paced that it was completely wasted, for example. However, the sequence of story-parodies that are interwoven are so lost in an ocean of randomness that it takes an overarching narration to even attempt to bring them together.
In the few brief moments, where the film approaches moments of almost brevity, it raised a grin or two from the audience. But for the most part, the gags fell on deaf ears. The film is barely crawling into the hole created by the budget, and it's definitely fallen short of previous performances from the franchise. It says something when the audience laughed more at the outtakes then an entire 'comedy' movie put together - and the outtakes didn't even contain anything remotely structured or interesting. The film, in entirety, feels like 86 minutes of someone wanting to just run out the time, get the money and go. The gags, stars and parodies are all there in a physical sense, but they're just hollow shells of days gone by.
For a film billed as a comedy, there was nothing but the tragic fall of a wheezing franchise. Perhaps it is time to put the parodies and the insane empire of parody attempts it has spawned, to rest.
What the Mr thought:
Simple put; don't waste your money. Vote with your feet and make sure there isn't a repeat performance. 1-2 days after release at our local cinema, and it was already so bad, they reduced the showings to a few measly ones during the evening. Help others by not seeing it.
What the Misses thought:
I have to agree with my Mr! Admittedly I did laugh, at parts, but overall it was not nearly as funny as previous Scary Movies. As you found out about me in one of our first posts, I dislike horror...well, I hate it. This film was a horror, not in genre but how it was to watch. I enjoyed the outtakes during the credits, but that is probably about it.
But you didn't hear it from us!
Mr & Misses