Scary Movie 4

Bomb Rating: 

Somewhere along the line with the transition from the “Scream” franchise to the “Scary Movie” franchise and from the Wayans’ (“White Chicks”) controlled "Scary Movie" franchise to the David ("Airplane") Zucker controlled "Scary Movie" franchise I’ve gotten so confused that I sometimes think I’m in an alternate universe. These films have melded together in my mind like a cinematic buffet where the choices are many, but everything is brown and lumpy.

I doubt many people aside from film critics and long-time theater managers follow what I’m saying in that first paragraph and that is precisely the problem. It’s a history lesson in pop culture irrelevancy. Hollywood is where original concepts go to die – to be digested and swallowed, sucked up and spit out – and that is what happened to "Scream". It’s like it was a living, breathing thing and then it died and was raised from the dead as a zombie in one of the lesser, later George Romero films.

Due to the influence of the Wayans brothers, the first two installments of "Scary Movie" were urban and hip, then David Zucker got hold of them for whatever reason and everyone was transported back to the late-80’s to be reminded of the death of the spoof film (anybody remember "Police Academy 6: City Under Siege" in 1989?) where stringing together disconnected scenes culled from every recent picture under the sun forced people to the theaters in droves to see melodramatic, syrupy crap like "Ghost".

Now, filmmakers only have to be cinematically semi-literate. Watching "Scary Movie 4", it appeared that the writers had only seen three films from which to cull their jokes: "Saw", "The Grudge", and "War of the Worlds". Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) takes a job caring for a comatose woman and jokes are made about the weird little Japanese boy haunting the house – ho hum. Next door, Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko) is trying to regain the respect of his two children as aliens invade the Earth. They fire disintegrating beams at black folk and we watch the bling hit the ground – yawn.

Other films are worked into the plot, most notably "The Village" and "Million Dollar Baby", but they’re like clip-on ties – cheap and out-of-place. In "Scary Movie 4" the most obvious of these gags is the Oprah one at the end, where Bierko’s faux Tom Cruise jumps up and down on the couch, begging for both attention and a laugh. It’s more tacked on than Andy Rooney at the end of "60 Minutes". Unfortunately, the defining element of this genre is that the monkeys throw stuff against the wall and some of it sticks and some of it doesn’t. Nevertheless, the room always reeks.

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