Our countdown concludes with a look at Scary Movie 5.
At long last we’ve made it to the end of our retrospective on the Scary Movie series. From the Wayans Brothers to David Zucker and his team, the series has had its high points and low points over the past 13 years. And now, we come to a new chapter in the series, with Malcolm D. Lee taking the reigns of the franchise with Scary Movie 5.
The most significant change is the absence of Anna Faris who was pregnant when they were filming the fifth installment and decided to focus on her pregnancy and not another Scary Movie film. With her opting out, Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, and Kevin Hart also decided not to return. A new crop of actors had to be brought in.
The result: a total abomination in spoof filmmaking. Scary Movie 5 is bad. Really bad. Like, I couldn’t believe how just plain awful it was. The trailer was bad, but to sit and watch this constant barrage of non-jokes fall flat scene after scene was an insult to audiences and to the medium of film.
Director Malcolm D. Lee takes the reigns of this sleigh ride through comedy hell. I’m not really sure if you can say what takes place in this movie was “directed by” anyone. It feels more like a high school or college film project where no one’s sure what to do, and they just hope to get a passing grade. It’s clear that Mr. Lee does not have the Scary Movie magic touch, and should be kept far away from the series if they make a Scary Movie 6 (God help us all if that happens!).
What really baffles me most is that the film’s screenwriting credits go to David Zucker & Pat Proft, two men who are veterans of the spoof genre. These are the guys who brought us Airplane!, the Naked Gun trilogy, and the Hot Shots! movies. They also worked on Scary Movies 3 & 4. So, what the hell happened here???
I have several theories, but here are three I’m willing to ascertain while I try to forget ever seeing this movie: 1) These two wrote the script, took their paychecks, walked away, and the filmmakers did whatever they wanted and ruined what was a funny movie; 2) The Weinsteins challenged them to write the worst spoof movie ever…and they did; 3) They saw A Haunted House and cut out all the jokes from the Scary Movie 5 script that were the same.
Other than those three reasons, there is no excuse for why the jokes, the slapstick, and the gags suck as bad as they do. This plays like a first draft script where a writer puts in lame jokes but then puts [BETTER JOKE TO COME] right after to ensure they change things. But in this case they forgot to make the jokes better and now we all have to suffer. Oy!
Ashley Tisdale is hot. But her character is so mean-spirited and angry that she garners no empathy nor is she likeable (and she’s the supposed “hero” of the film). It’s established at the start that she doesn’t want kids, so when she acquires three children to take care of and “accidentally” smacks the baby’s head on the door frame or “accidentally” lights him on fire it comes across as abusive and not just an incompetent person trying to parent.
This is what made the gags involving Cindy’s nephew Cody and Tom’s daughter Rachel in Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4 work. These were semi-decent, very dumb people who wanted to be good at raising kids. They just weren’t smart enough to do so. And so while the kids were getting whacked around, it seemed less awful than when Tisdale’s character does it.
Even more disappointing than the unlikable hero was the opening with Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen. According to TMZ, they shot the Sheen/Lohan scene for two days. Was this the best footage they shot? Really? That’s kind of sad when you think about it.
After that it’s just one relentlessly painful scene after the next, each one lacking much point or coherence, and really leaving you begging for the end to come. Jokes become repetitive and forced. There seems to be a major disconnect between what’s funny and what’s not. It’s clear that this is a movie composed of all the unfunny footage, with the comedy left in the trash bins of the editing software utilized.
What’s being spoofed? Well, primarily it’s Paranormal Activity, but we also have Mama, Evil Dead, Black Swan, Inception, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes to slog through. Senseless gag after senseless gag. While spoofs generally play by their own rules, it would have been nice if Scary Movie 5 at least followed some basic rules of comedy.
You know a movie is bad when the bloopers at the end get more chuckles than the movie itself. The friend I went with was “medicated,” and he laughed throughout the film, but I wonder how he would have responded were he not on anything. Hell, I wish I had been “medicated!” But that would have only dulled the torture of sitting through Scary Movie 5.
Now, I love the spoof genre. If you asked the people I know who to talk to about spoofs, I would be the guy they would refer you to. I’ve pretty much seen them all and can tell you the best and the worst of the lot. This one definitely ranks as one of the low points of the genre, down there with the likes of Disaster Movie, Epic Movie, and Meet the Spartans. Ugh!
With all this in mind, I hope I have saved you from the creative abortion that is Scary Movie 5!
Scary Movie 5 is in theaters now if you dare to see it.
Did you see it? Did you like it? Hate it? Leave a comment and let us know!
Check out the rest of the retrospective below: