Scary Movie 4

2006-10-02 13:49


The dim-witted denizens of the world's crudest spoof series are back for a fourth helping. This time Cindy "space cadet" Campbell (Anna Faris) and Brenda the sex fiend (Regina Hall) find themselves battling ghosts, monsters and serial killers, not to mention an alien invasion. Luckily Cindy's equally clueless new boyfriend, Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko), is along for the ride. Movie lovers will recognise spoofs of War of the Worlds, The Grudge, The Village, Saw, Million Dollar Baby and others, while celeb hounds will enjoy cameos by Carmen Electra, Shaquille O'Neal, Dr. Phil, Bill Pullman, Chris Elliott, Molly Shannon, Anthony Anderson, Kevin Hart and Michael Madsen. The inimitable Leslie Nielsen returns as the (second) daftest US president in history.


In many ways the Scary Movie series is the ultimate example of a movie "franchise". Few sequels can survive a change of director or writer, let alone both, without becoming a critical and commercial flop, but the Scary series has been through four sets of different writers (15 screenwriters in total) and two directors, with only one noticeable hiccup (the rushed second film).

Its success isn't all that surprising. Broad, fast-paced spoof comedy is always an easy sale because it appeals to that most powerful of lowest common denominators - popular culture. The chances are that the audience has first hand experience of at least some of the subjects being joked about.

Of course the jokes still need to be funny and well executed, a mix that is deceptively difficult to achieve. Though the series was born in the able hands of the irrepressible Wayans brothers, it found new life in its current director, the legendary David Zucker. As the man who effectively invented the pop-cultural spoof comedy with the 1980 smash hit Airplane! (not to mention the Naked Gun films), few directors are better equipped to handle the genre. It was Zucker who effectively restarted the Scary series with the phenomenally successful third film, and he looks set to continue that success with both 4 and 5 (currently in production).

Not that any of the films - or Scary Movie 4 in particular - are comic masterpieces. Jokes of every hue are simply hurled at the viewer like plates of spaghetti in the hope that something will stick. Zucker's mottoes have always been "more is more" and "the faster the better" and both are in full force here. At 100 jokes a minute you are bound to find at least something funny.

Luckily at least some gags do stick. The film is at its funniest when roasting the po-faced seriousness of films like The Village and War of the Worlds, or poking fun at celebrity foibles. But plenty of jokes also fall flat, or dive headfirst into the realms of offensiveness. Homophobia isn't funny - even to homophobes - and neither are wee-wee jokes, or the sight of Leslie Nielson naked.

Is it worth watching? Only if you're a fan of the series, or the genre in general. The film's high production values, its canny topicality and Zucker's gleeful direction make it a lot more enjoyable than the fourth in a series ought to be. And anyway, you could do a lot worse. At least Scary Movie 4 is unapologetically high-sugar, full-fat junk, and not a flavourless McMovie like The Shaggy Dog.

- Alistair Fairweather

After two directors, 15 writers, and $400 million at the box offices, this cheerfully vulgar series is proving to be the little franchise that could. The fourth edition is just as scattershot as its predecessors, but also just as funny.

Robert 2006/06/06 8:26 AM
Good for a Laugh Not to bad, good for a laugh on da rainy day that i went!
Senor Onion 2006/06/06 10:47 AM
OMG! Excellent if you love this genre, I was on the floor in hysterics... The Scary Movie Trilogy... oops no wait, this is no. 4
Siyah 2006/06/06 10:59 AM
Scary Movie 4 When is going to be on the big screen?? Scary Movie 4
ADRIAN 2006/06/06 11:25 AM
Mauran 2006/06/06 12:00 PM
??? I thought they were all brilliant if only
bukosi 2006/06/06 1:03 PM
scary movie scary scary movie
Thomas Adams 2006/06/06 1:21 PM
Ok I hope Scary Movie 4 will be like the first two. To be honest the third one really went silly but lets hope the writers wil make a comeback and write a decent movie this time Scary Movie 1 and 2 and also Shriek. If you like rip off movies
Shane 2006/06/06 1:52 PM
Love them I loved all the scary movies and cant wait to see this one Scary movie 1-3
mimi 2006/06/06 1:54 PM
Scary movie I like scary movie 4 Scary movie 4
Piet 2006/06/06 4:49 PM
Seen It! This movie are oar-sowe!!! I love it at the begin, Wif Doctor Phil and Shaquille O'neal. a mock up up the SAW series. I wont give away anymore Saw, Saw2 and Scary Movie123!!
madel 2006/06/06 5:14 PM
ice Type your review here cool movie nice
barry 2006/06/06 6:35 PM
scary movie 3 i think it is nice but i think it is a bit [obscenity deleted]ed up good
Barry 2006/06/06 6:39 PM
Scary movie 3 I think it is funny !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Scary Movie 3
henie 2006/06/06 8:11 PM
scary movie 4 scary movie 4
henie 2006/06/06 8:14 PM
scary movie 4 it is cool and fannie and scary scary movie 4
Alex 2006/06/10 2:02 PM
Very Funny This movie was extremly fuuny. I would recomend it to any fan of the series. It is the best one yet. I can;t wait for number 5
ETHAN 2006/06/12 6:37 PM
Moeneeb 2006/06/14 1:29 PM
Scary movie 4 review Plain kak
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