On Scary Movie 4
I am sorely disappointed by the movie Scary Movie 4. This is worse than it sounds because I am usually a big fan of the stupid comedies and the Scary Movie series in particular. Let me explain.
For those not familiar, the Scary Movie franchise parodies horror films. The first Scary Movie made fun of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer with a few other movie references thrown in. It was a very funny movie. The second, and best, of the series mostly parodied The Haunting of Hill House with plenty of references to other horrors.
This last movie though had a real identity crisis. It never seemed sure which the primary basis for the parody was. The plot jumped around erratically. The interactions between the story lines seemed to be forced. The jokes seemed to be more forced. It was like they decided which pop-culture pieces they wanted in the movie before writing the screen play.
Of course there were plenty of laughable moments and the movie was funny. It's just sad that it did not reach its potential. By trying to cram as many bad jokes into a poor story, the movie makers ripped the heart out of the movie.
It's important to place the absurd next to the mundane for the absurd to have real comedic effect. Placing the absurd next to something equally absurd levels things out and drowns the humor in a sea of sameness. Here's what I mean:
- If a man in the middle of a banana cream pie fight steps in a banana cream pie and slips, the fall is mildly funny.
- If the principal of a school steps into the banana cream pie left out by mischievous students and slips, the fall is funnier because it happened in a normal setting. The pie related fall is not typical of the academic environment.
- If a military scout is rushing back to his own lines to deliver vital intelligence that will save the day for his brothers in arms and he steps into a banana cream pie and slips, that is comedic gold. You can imagine the poor fellow running across rough terrain, dodging ankle twisting rocks and holes only to be brought down by a banana cream pie. Don't get me started on the brigade of enemy soldiers tasked with strategically placing banana cream pies.
In Scary Movie 4 , there was no attempt to balance out seriousness and absurdity. There was just absurdity and we can find enough of that on the evening news.
One redeeming factor of the film was lead actress Anna Farris. She plays Cindy Campbell through the entire Scary Movie series. She delivers her lines well and is very skilled with expressions. When a character in the films says or does something stupid, Cindy Campbell at least looks at them like they've done something wrong. That brings back some of that normality that makes the stupid stuff funny.
One last note, though I've linked to the official website for the movie, don't bother going. It has plenty of stupid animation but is otherwise useless.