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Scary Movie 3

It's fitting that after Dimension scored two hits with the Wayans family's Scary Movie films that for the third entry the franchise's reins were passed to David Zucker. After all, it was through Zucker (with partners Jim Abrams and Brother Jerry) that the sketch parody film was born with 1980's Airplane, and the subsequent Naked Gun films. Yet this sort of hit-or-miss parody works best when it's drawing from an entire genre, instead of just a handful of movies. And where the first film got over because of its outrageous sexual content (as it blended the Zucker brother's template with the gross-outs of the Farrelly Brothers), with a PG-13 rating 2003's Scary Movie 3 gets the feeling of watching a re-run from an off season of Saturday Night Live. Anna Farris returns as (the originally Neve Campbell-ish) Cindy Campbell, who's now working as a news reporter and is taking care of her creepy nephew. She meets up with George (former porn star and ex-MTV VJ Simon Rex), who is modeled on Eminem's character in 8 Mile, and who's brother Tom (Charlie Sheen) is a lapsed priest that had his crops messed with ala Mel Gibson's character in Signs. Things get even more complicated for Cindy when best friend Brenda (series alum Regina Hall) informs her that she saw the videotape (yep, The Ring) that kills you seven days after you've seen it, which the president (Leslie Neilsen) grows concerned about, along with Cindy's word of a possible Alien invasion. Unfortunately both Cindy and her nephew happen to see the tape, and find that the creepy girl in video also has something to do with Tom's farm. Other pop culture targets of satire are The Matrix Reloaded, The Others, the Michael Jackson sex charges, American Idol, and Charlie Sheen's predilection for dirty sex. Yet, like all films like this, it's so slap-shod, and the jokes are so hit or miss that Scary Movie 3 never feels like much of a movie; more a collection of juvenile parodies that might make the cut in Mad Magazine and people being hit in their heads and crotches. There are occasional laughs, especially when performers like Eddie Griffin, Anthony Anderson, and George Carlin show up, but as a whole it's another comedy where pop-culture references are used for comedy currency, instead of any insight into characters or into the movies being mocked. The reason why the film feels so slapped together can be explained by the DVD's supplements. There are 27 minutes of deleted scenes, including an ending that paid homage to Hulk, and more Reloaded humor, but because Hulk wasn't much of a hit, it was probably scrapped (though it should also be noted, it's not particularly funny), these scenes come with optional commentary with Zucker, writers Pat Proft and Craig Mazin, and producer Robert K. Weiss, who also provide a yack track for the film proper (one wonders how they get to make movies if they can't be amusing for a track such as this). Their comments — along with the 24 minutes making of — make it apparent that the film was in a constant state of flux throughout production, with many scenes shot and scrapped, a third of the film reshot (it's a 74 minute movie with ten minutes of credits) and with many scenes written days (or hours) before they were shot. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and in 5.1 surround, while the other extras include sneak peaks, outtakes and bloopers (4 min.), a parody making of (5 min.), and a behind-the-scenes for the deleted ending (5 min.). Keep-case.

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