The Scary Movie franchise is one that can and most likely will go on for a very, very long time. As long as they keep making money and as long as there are movies and world events that can be spoofed, more sequels will surely follow. The latest entry in the series Scary Movie 4, which can be watched online, is overall a pretty funny film, and an improvement over part 3, but it doesn’t reach the levels of the original or the even funnier part 2.
If you’ve watched one of them, you pretty much know how things flow throughout the whole series. Every scene is basically a random spoof of another film or widely known event. This time around films such as War Of The Worlds, Saw, The Village, and The Grudge are parodied. Tom Cruise also gets a good ribbing as does the United States President. The story is extremely basic and almost nonexistent at times, but that really doesn’t matter though does it?
We watch these movies online for one thing and that’s laughs. The biggest of which comes from Craig Bierko and his hilarious impersonation of Tom Cruise on Oprah. A couple of other high moments are a Lil’ John spot where he basically just acts like himself and Leslie Nielsen playing an incompetent moron president who reacts in all the wrong ways to an alien invasion. And I don’t mean illegal aliens.
Anna Faris returns once again as Cindy Campbell and as usual she’s hilarious. Regina Hall is also back as Cindy’s best friend Brenda,and she’s just as funny. These two ladies have excellent comedic chemistry with one another and it would be interesting to see them in a more story oriented comedy where their characters are the main focus. In these films they are in a giant ensemble and they always manage to outshine just about everyone else which is a testament to their talents.
That’s the good points out the way, now for the bad. As with all comedies, jokes are either hit or miss. Obviously the good ones hit more frequently however you can still watch Scary Movie 4 for free because it has a decent enough success rate, but there are a few lame jokes that stop the momentum dead in its tracks. The first 2 installments were steady streams of laughter with some occasional geysers of hilarity. The third was a leaky faucet that sporadically gushed some hysterical moments. Part 4’s funny bits come in waves and then the seas calm down and then the waves come back.
The reason 3 and 4 aren’t as good as their predecessors is the rating. A conscientious effort was made to tone down the adult oriented material of the first 2. These last couple of entries are geared towards a slightly youthful (and profitable) audience. If there’s one thing I despise in the film industry, it’s sacrificing content for the hopes of drawing in more cash. The first Scary Movie is far more raunchy and profane than 3 and 4 and it was also the biggest hit of the series.
The American Pie franchise, Wedding Crashers, and The 40 Year Old Virgin were all massively successful without pandering to kiddie audiences and uptight parents. It really sucks because you handicap yourself and your plot by targeting a certain demographic. At times it feels like Scary Movie 4 is about to explode with some massively crude jokes, but then things settle down quickly as if it was handcuffed by it’s predetermined rating. This isn’t just a problem for comedies. We’ve seen it happen with action, science fiction, and horror films. Stop the madness!
Director David Zucker and his oversized team of writers still do a decent job though. After the job Zucker did with part 3, I was worried what he’d conjure up for part 4. His highpoints came with Naked Gun, which is now comedy classic. Those movies were made way back in 1988-1991 respectively and it seemed like Zucker’s eyes and ears for humor were dated especially when comparing his efforts in part 3 to the hip, edgy efforts of Marlon, Shawn, and Keenon Ivory Wayans in parts 1 and 2. But this time around Zucker seems to have regained some of the zip on his comedy fastball, although it’s still not completely there. The cameos and special appearances are nicely done and there are some big laughs. But there are more than a few flat jokes that feel dated and that should have been axed from the end product.
So while it’s not the best of the bunch, and not even the second best really, it stills packs in some good chuckles. The biggest of which comes toward the very end and is well worth the price of admission. If you love parody humor then watch Scary Movie 4, it definitely worth it. Just don’t go in expecting comedic greatness as there are a few too many jokes that lack punch.