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Scary Movie

Arriving in the summer of 2000, Scary Movie was both very successful and generally disgusting, featuring an assortment of gross-out gags that pretty much topped anything that the Farrelly Brothers did in There's Something About Mary or the Weitz Brothers did with their American Pie, and the three Wayans brothers behind the project (writers/actors Sean and Marlon, director Keenan Ivory) achieve a level of sicko humor that will take some time to top. But the gags here are just gross — they aren't knowing, and the film plays like a overlong sex-joke for grade school kids. And with that going for them, some of the best gags surprisingly (or regrettably) are homosexual in nature, with Sean Wayans playing a closeted gay man who isn't very well kept in the closet. Scary Movie's plot is loosely strung around the outline of Wes Craven's original blockbuster Scream, but while Craven's sequels — and the films inspired by Scream — are ripe targets, spoofing the first film misses the purpose of satire, since Scream was actually pretty good. Scary Movie, on the other hand, is padded with sex and pot references, and the storyline is just a clothesline on which to hang spoofs of recent movies (including the umpteenth Matrix bullet-time gag) and even Budweiser commercials. It never nails the absurdity of the genre like Airplane, nor is it as lovingly done as Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, leaving the best bits to Dave Sheridan, whose character is based on Scream's David Arquette, and which is not so much a parody as a character assassination as it recasts Arquette as a vacuum-humping, borderline mental-defective. If your standards aren't too high, Scary Movie may elicit laughs, but in this hit-and-miss affair the batting average is low. Thankfully, the running-time is short (88 minutes, with eight minutes of credits). Yes, when it comes to film comedy, it's been a long time since anyone had the Lubitsch touch. Buena Vista's DVD edition offers a clean anamorphic transfer (2.35:1), with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. Deleted scenes, featurette, trailer. Keep-case.
—DSH



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