Review by Paul Stathakis | 2006

Scarily bad

Ear­ly on in “Scary Movie 4”, Shaquille O’Neal and Dr. Phil par­o­dy the hor­ror film “Saw” and the scene is not fun­ny when it could’ve been amus­ing.  Instead, the open­ing min­utes warn view­ers of the silli­ness that lies ahead. This use­less install­ment, like its pre­de­ces­sors, is a shab­by com­e­dy which relies on a col­lage of spoofs to tell a fun­ny sto­ry.  The idea has nev­er been more tire­some and dull.

I’ll admit that I enjoyed the first “Scary Movie” because, like all come­dies that work, it was the first part and it was some­thing orig­i­nal.  The epic part 4 puts the whole idea of mock­ing hor­ror movies into over­drive and some­where along the way it for­gets that it’s sup­pose to strict­ly tar­get hor­ror movies.  Hence, the rea­son why there is a point­less “Mil­lion Dol­lar Baby” spoof.  Yes, this is a film that will win the atten­tion of those who have not seen enough satir­i­cal come­dies or for those who sim­ply can­not get enough of movie spoofs.

Need­less to say, there is not much of a sto­ry to fol­low and if you make the mis­take of actu­al­ly try­ing to under­stand the sto­ry then you’ve missed the point.  This is a sense­less com­e­dy and if any of it makes sense the writ­ers should won­der how they ever wrote some­thing coher­ent.  I say this bit­ter­ly because as view­ers we deserve orig­i­nal come­dies with wit­ty humor.  I dis­missed “Date Movie”, which was writ­ten by two of the writ­ers respon­si­ble for the “Scary Movie” films and now I am dis­miss­ing this com­e­dy again.

Why am I rant­i­ng?  Why I am being so harsh towards a lit­tle inno­cent film that aims to make peo­ple gig­gle?  The answer, dear read­ers, is sim­ple.  We go to the movies to be enter­tained.  We go to the movies to expe­ri­ence oth­er worlds, to see oth­er loca­tions, to wit­ness dif­fer­ent eras, gen­res, and per­for­mances.  The good come­dies will always make us laugh.  The best of them will always play­back in our heads some­where and in con­ver­sa­tions will often sur­face and, yes, makes us laugh again.  The bad come­dies, and “Scary Movie 4” is a great exam­ple, will be for­got­ten before the end cred­its are complete.

What’s spoofed?  What’s fun­ny?  What’s not?  Tom Cruise is mocked, Oprah is imi­tat­ed, Dr. Phil throws a tantrum at peo­ple with issues and he even men­tions obe­si­ty, there is a ton of “Saw” jokes, but in the mid­dle of a “War of the Worlds” bit there is a mys­tery cameo appear­ance which works like a charm and made me smile.  That’s one scene, one actor, and one smile.  For a movie of this sort, that’s a sur­prise and a half.

The cre­ators of the fran­chise have stat­ed that “Scary Movie 4” will be their final install­ment.  Some are sad­dened by this news while oth­ers are sigh­ing in relief.  There may be a lot of imma­ture jokes which poke fun at hor­ror films here but the game is over and I see a dead fran­chise and a scar­i­ly bad, use­less, dis­taste­ful, sil­ly, repug­nant, sense­less, and main­ly unfun­ny movie.


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