The Rock

Directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans
Running Time: 1:27
Rated R for strong crude sexual humor, language, drug use and violence.

It occurred to me last night, that movies that spoof genres (Airplane!, The Naked Gun, or even the Keenen Ivory Wayans classic I'm Gonna Git You Sucka) are always better than movies that attempt to spoof specific films (Don't Be a Menace to South Central..., Dracula, Dead and Loving It). Scary Movie falls into that second category. It attempts to spoof basically one film (Scream), while throwing in shots at other popular films of recent memory, but it just isn't funny.

Like I said, this movie is basically a spoof of Scream. The basic "plot" follows a girl and her friends, and she is being targeted by a killer in a mask. There is a decent sized reference to I Know What You Did Last Summer thrown in, as well as shots at movies such as The Matrix, The Blair Witch Project, and The Sixth Sense among others. The biggest problem I had with this movie is that 95% of every "spoof" moment involves either sex or drugs. Whether it's one of the characters trying to get his girlfriend to just "touch it" or the killer getting high with people he's planning on killing, the entire movie revolves around sex and drugs. Now I'm not saying I have a problem with sex and drugs, but making an entire movie that centers around just those two elements isn't funny.

In my opinion, which is what these reviews are in the first place, it doesn't take a whole lot of effort to take a famous film and then add some sex to it to try and make it funny. I think a couple of 12 year olds could have written this movie. I generally like the Wayans family, especially Keenen and Damon (who sadly doesn't make an appearance in the movie). But this schlock seems beneath them. In Living Color was one of the greatest comedy series I've ever watch on television. There they were able to mock pop culture in a smart way, and not have to resort to sex and drugs to try and get a laugh. In Scary Movie, there were very few smart spoof points, and a lot of laughs gained from the use of male genitalia. A lot. Now I suppose if there was a lot of shots of naked women I wouldn't be complaining, so that's up to you to decide. But the humor derived from the male nudity didn't seem to have a point, it was just there to get a cheap laugh and to move on.

I think one of the problems is that horror movies today, like Scream, don't really take themselves seriously to begin with. They go with the premise that audiences have seen horror films and know what's going to happen, so they add some humor, then try and twist the plot to make it interesting. So when you try and spoof a film like that, it's hard to do because essentially, all your work is already done for you. So all that's left is to add sight gags. But when your sight gags are all sexual in nature, it gets boring. I think the large group of young teenagers I saw in the theater certainly enjoyed the movie, but that's the mentality level you need to sit through this film and laugh at all the gags that the Wayans brothers throw in.

The cast wasn't anything special. Shannon Elizabeth from American Pie fame was probably the most recognizable face next to the Wayans brothers. And of course Cheri Oteri from Saturday Night Live, who did a decent job playing the annoying reporter. In face the transition from one of her scenes into the Blair Witch knockoff was pretty funny, but once again when they got into the scene, the send up was rather disgusting and not very funny. I did think that newcomer Anna Faris did a good job of sending up the Sydney character Neve Campbell played in the Scream Trilogy. Other than that, nothing about the cast was all that exciting. Oh yeah, except for the 10 second cameo by everyone's favorite Dawson, James van der Beek.

So overall, I found Scary Movie to be very disappointing. With the Wayans brothers in charge, I was expecting a smart, funny send up of horror films. Instead what I got was a very uninspired sex and drug romp that could have been written by a 12 year old. Not one of the better spoofs I've seen, and something that should probably saved for video, if not for the $2 bins that they always have out front.

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Text Version

reviewed 07/09/00

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