Scary Movie 4
I gave up on the Scary Movie franchise about ten minutes into the first film (I finished watching it, but it was an endurance test). But 4 was on the box, and hey. Maybe David Zucker (first brought on board to direct the third film) had eked some laughs from the terminally gag-challenged material. Jim Abrahams and Pat Proft were on script duty. That had to count for something. But wait… didn’t the Zuckers forsake laughs and turn into rightwing zealots? To the extent that they made a whole “comedy” lambasting Michael Moore (A Christmas Carol)?
SM4 is so lousy, it doesn’t even really merit contempt. It rotates from laugh-free parody to laugh-free parody as if its creators were oblivious to what made Airplane! and The Naked Guns frequently hilarious. Sandwiched into the horror spoof shell (this time taking in J-Horror) are extended riffs on War of the Worlds (Spielberg), The Village, Brokeback Mountain and Saw. The only one that raises a vague smile is a piss-take of Million Dollar Baby’s crucial accident.
The person I feel sorry for in all this is Anna Faris, a natural comedienne who, presumably for financial reasons, felt compelled to persevere through four of these movies (mercifully for her, she is absent from the Weinsteins’ desperate and doomed attempt to resuscitate the franchise this year). In contrast, Craig Bierko (who I can never quite place, except that he approximates an annoying version of Ron Livingstone) seems right at home here. Leslie Nielsen is wheeled on to deliver his usual schtick but he’s woefully under-served, as well as being granted the geriatric indignity of exposing his sagging flesh for the camera. What a trooper.