Scary Movie 3

By Adam Lippe

scary_movie_3_003Scary Movie 3 was really, really short, and I have to say I’m glad about that. The version I saw ran 74 minutes without the end credits, but I was pretty sure that I’d had my fill of people hitting their head on objects and then while they’re recovering from that, being hit in the nuts. I would say that these types of things make up 25% of the jokes, but they fly by at a fairly quick pace. There is one funny scene at a wake, where a child who is supposed to be satirizing Haley Joel Osment from The Sixth Sense (which came out around the time the first Scary Movie did) keeps predicting each person’s future with cruder and cruder results. But then the scene grows more fixated on poorly designed body part humor, as limbs begin flying around and there is an attempt to resuscitate the body in vain. The rest of the jokes fall pretty much flat, relying on parodying the most obvious elements of the successful films it mocks. The long bit about Signs goes nowhere especially when they try to link it in with The Ring, but all we end up with is rubber aliens who pee out of their fingers and say goodbye with a kick to the crotch.

What’s strange is that despite the fact that Zucker was not traditionally as lazy about his jokes as were the latter Leslie Nielsen movies like Spy Hard and Wrongfully Accused, he still falls into the same trap. Recent parodies have begun to simply replicate the famous scenes with their own look-a-like actors, and assume that the simple act of repetition is skewering enough, no need to add any angle or slant. Whole scenes in Scary Movie 3 are just literal copies of The Ring and 8 Mile with no spin whatsoever, played completely straight, as if we really cared about the plot. The Eminem parody is really poor, and with little or no adjustment, could have passed for the real thing.

And yet this is still much funnier than Scary Movie 2, which just had one joke after another just lie down and dies, and the cast was left floundering, because Wayans just waited wherever he thought the audience would be laughing.

In the third movie, Leslie Nielsen does an odd nod to Airplane (the line about “Good luck, we’re all counting on you), that’s thoroughly out of place, but I must say that it’s the first time I’ve seen a parody make a reference to another parody as a source of humor.

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By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.