Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Malcolm D Lee
Stars: Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, J P Manoux, Heather Locklear, Molly Shannon, Jerry O’Connell, Snoop Dogg, Mike Tyson.
The Scary Movie franchise has lampooned some of the classic horror movies in a series of unsubtle and increasingly laboured parodies. They have been incredibly successful at the box office, which is why we have this latest, and hopefully last, in the Scary Movie series. Scary Movie 5 is a puerile and unfunny spoof of some of recent genre films. There have been many similar genre spoofs to hit screens in recent years (Epic Movie, Date Movie, Not Another Teen Movie, etc), but they have all become increasingly tedious, predictable and unfunny, and unfortunately the insipid Scary Movie 5 is no better. It’s been seven years since the last Scary Movie, but it seems that the hiatus has done little to improve creativity.
The main plot follows the trajectory of Andres Muschietti’s recent horror flick Mama, in which a young couple brought home a pair of feral children who had been living in the woods for a couple of years. They also brought home a malevolent presence that turned their domestic tranquility upside down. Ashley Tisdale, from High School Musical, etc, and Simon Rex (replacing Craig Bierko) play Jody and Dan, the beleaguered couple here, but their performances are so shrill and wooden that they virtually stifle any potential for humour. But the film also manages to incorporate some key elements from the dark and twisted psychological ballet drama Black Swan, in which three dancers vie for the lead role in a new production of Swan Lake, being staged by an imperious, driven and oversexed director ( J P Manoux).
The film also tries to lampoon the haunted house dynamics of the Paranormal Activity series, with multiple surveillance cameras. And there is also some stuff from Inception and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes thrown into the mix. But it is all done without any real wit, spark or originality so that it quickly becomes laboured. There is also a preponderance of sexual innuendo throughout the material. Most of the humour here is more miss than hit, although there are a couple of moments that elicit a chuckle. As usual in this type of film, the gag reel that plays during the final credits is often funnier than anything in the film itself.
Noticeably absent from Scary Movie 5 is series regular Anna Faris. There are brief appearances from the likes of Heather Locklear, Molly Shannon, Jerry O’Connell as a Christian Grey-like character, Snoop Dogg, and even Mike Tyson, that are more embarrassing than anything else.
Probably the best bits feature Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, who have both had troubled personal lives that have provided plenty of fodder for the tabloid press. They are both game here as they willingly send up their tarnished reputations in the opening scene, which sees the two hook up to film a sex tape. And a late, post credit sequence featuring the pair is also worth the wait.
It’s surprising, and somewhat disheartening, to discover that the lazy, uninspired and unfunny script was written by David Zucker and Pat Proft, who virtually invented the movie spoof genre with The Kentucky Fried Movie three decades ago. They also co-wrote the classic Flying High (aka Airplane in some territories), which has been often copied but never bettered, and The Naked Gun series.
The hamfisted and unsubtle direction of Malcolm D Lee (Undercover Brother, etc) batters all attempts at humour into submission. Thankfully it is only a brief 86 minutes long so it doesn’t outstay its welcome. But like the Police Academy series which eventually, painfully stretched to seven films, the Scary Movie series has run out of legs. The failure of this dull, laboured and unfunny comedy only serves to remind us just how funny the first two films in the series were. I never thought I’d ever say this, but bring back the Wayans.