Scary Movie 5: A Scene-by-Scene Analysis (sort of) and Movie Review
Caution: Spoilers ahead
From the opening scene, it is clear that the Scary Movie franchise lost its comedic value at least two installments ago. In the cold open, Charlie Sheen and Lindsey Lohan have sex in a montage of useless acrobatic puns set to circus music. The scene, essentially a PR-move for the two aging celebs, finds only a shred of success in Sheen and Lohan skewering their highly-publicized images, but the painful lack of timing from both actors makes the entire scene seem forced. At the end of the sequence, Lohan becomes a demon apropos of nothing and flings Sheen into the camera, cracking it and initiating the title card.
The second scene comes upon us, and we quickly realize that the creators–having now lost Anna Faris, Regina Hall, and all of the Wayans Bros–are drawing at straws, trying to the fill the void of comedic talent with celebrity cameos whenever possible. Because people want to see Snoop Dogg and Mac Miller in their comedy horror films. Right?
The rapping duo are strolling in the woods, their entrance being narrated humbly by Morgan Freeman (Josh Robert Thompson, perhaps the best actor in the movie. He nails that impression). Their discussion on the efficacy of Obamacare is quickly derailed into a conversation about getting “shampoo in your pee-hole,” a moment utterly devoid of humor.
Turns out, the pair are looking to steal themselves some Humboldt County bud. And that’s exactly what they do, nabbing a comically large joint and escaping from drones, I guess, by entering a cabin in the woods. The house is occupied by three feral children (a parody of the flop Mama), but the two stoners care very little about that. Instead, they engage in a standoff that is started for seemingly no reason at all. When this finally ends, the rappers engage with the children, and Snoop declares that they need to get a shark (they don’t explain why). Thus concludes another scene where celebrities are thrown haphazardly onto the screen and asked to be funny when that is not there job. The results are exactly what you would expect.
The next scene begins with Ashley Tisdale’s character Jody (the unceremonious replacement for Anna Faris) sitting on a toilet holding a positive pregnancy test. She then double checks this result by using an Iphone app. In theory, a decent “there’s-an-app-for-that” joke, but it’s just kinda gross in practice. The misdirection of the app itself is actually fairly funny, but Tisdale’s lackluster delivery on the other end ruins it. Simon Rex’s returning character of Charlie Sheen’s brother Dan bursts into the bathroom, throwing Tisdale back for some unnecessary physical humor, and the scene abruptly ends.
Now in a hospital, we are introduced to our first veteran comedian of the film, Darrell Hammond, who plays a doctor treating Sheen’s once-lost children. Hammond–a hope? A chance. He has timing and execution that other’s so far in the film are sorely lacking. But the jokes themselves don’t hold up. We soon come to find out that the three children from the cabin are actually Sheen’s children, and their removal from society has caused them to become traumatized and animalistic. This scene devolves into more physical humor, namely punching children in the face. Classic Scary Movie material, and the aspect of the franchise that, across the board, produces no laughs from me. The scene ends with Dan and Jody getting custody of the children, under the condition that they move into the house designated by child services.
Cut to: the newly formed family moving into the house. Dan is filming the whole thing Paranormal Activity style. More physical humor. Baby’s head hits a wall. The couple are clearly unfit parents. Yadda yadda yadda.
Once they’ve settled in, the couple talk to the eldest daughter, who is drawing pictures. A black, demonic figure struts across the nearby bathroom. There’s a drawing of a penis. Anal insertion. You know, comedy.
The family has a highly religious maid and a dog. Next scene.
Dan, as absent minded as he is, is a lab researcher studying the advancement of apes under certain drugs (sound familiar…). The ape in question is far smarter than Dan, and is a visual specimen that would make Andy Serkis roll over in the grave that he will one day (far off in the future, hopefully) inhabit. Dan’s boss is Terry Crews (here we go, another good comic actor. A second hope, perhaps.). Crews’ character plays the straight man in this scene, unfortunately. No, the real comedy of this scene rests on monkeys flinging s**t and a non-sequitur Real Housewives cat-fight. Dan makes a racist comment to Crews and backpedals as fast as he can, which is almost funny.
At this point, I am 20 minutes into this movie and have realized the horrible mistake that I have made in reviewing it scene for scene. I figured that I could try and make a few sarcastic jokes at the film’s expense, but this is simply unbearable. So, I’m going to skip ahead to the scenes that have anything reputable to say for themselves.
Black Swan and Madea parodies. Baby inexplicably birthed onto a man’s face and subsequently kicked into tuba. Way to go writers Pat Proft and David Zucker. That’s quality comedy.
There is an admittedly funny sequence of shots that parody Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, in which Jody walks towards the dance hall over and over again in overlapping shots that make no sense continuity wise (Snicker +1).
Molly Shannon portraying Winona Ryder’s character in Black Swan, dancing with a martini in her hand, definitely a high point in this film (Snicker +1, Guffaw +1). The groan-worthy pole dance that immediately follows that, though (Guffaw -1).
After this scene, I stopped watching Scary Movie 5 and took about a week to cleanse my pallet before trying again. I would have abandoned this movie altogether, but I have tried to make it a habit to finish a movie no matter how pitifully bad it may be. So, I came back to watch the final hour of this movie. And this is the first scene I encounter:
A child digging through a box of dildos. I shake my head disapprovingly. (Guffaw -1)
Pierre (J.P. Manoux), the Black Swan parody ballet instructor says: “I require the sweater I wear as a scarf” (Guffaw +1).
Usher dancing as a non-sequitur: unnecessary (Snicker -1).
Please, Katt Williams, help us! At least he has timing and delivery. But he is only around for one real joke (Snickers +1).
Vacuum party…Vacuum party? (Guffaw -1)
12 News affair segment: not that bad (Snickers +1).
An Inception parody gives this film more shameless opportunities at movie parodies. Oh, and dog sex. No need (Snicker -2).
The Evil Dead parody was actually pretty funny…the first time (Guffaw +1). Then they drove the idea into the ground with two identical gags that don’t escalate the joke at all.
The Morgan Freeman impersonator saying “Oh my god, where’s the car!? Oh, there it is” induced a snicker (Snicker +1).
I guess that shark did come in handy, Snoop. Good thing you randomly decided to invest in one earlier in the movie. That wasn’t a reach to come up with a callback on the writers’ parts at all.
Final Hilarity Count:
Snickers: 2 Guffaws: 0 Belly Laughs: 0
As has become standard with the Scary Movie franchise, the writers take good scenes from good movies and try to tear them down (unsuccessfully) or otherwise take awful, unmemorable movies and just copy their general image. (At least) 90% of this movie is physical humor. In the right context, people getting hurt for comic relief is perfectly acceptable. But when it carries the majority of a film’s jokes, something is wrong. At that point, the writers aren’t even writing jokes anymore. I’ve never met a person who found 90 minutes of the same joke played out in different ways funny.
For every legitimately funny name in the supporting cast–Darrell Hammond, Molly Shannon, Katt Williams–there is a celebrity cameo that negates it. The jokes that are actually written fall flat the majority of the time due to a heavy reliance on non-sequiturs and random diversions. There is simply no redemption in this film.
I can’t avoid recommending this movie more. Do not watch it, it is a waste of your time. However…if you have to, you can find it on Amazon through the links below:
As always, thanks for reading!
Have you seen Scary Movie 5? If so, what did you think? Do you find this movie watchable at all? Let me know in the comments!
–Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)