THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan
"SCARY MOVIE 5"
Scary Movie 5 is so bad, it makes A Haunted House look like a Seltzer/Friedberg comedy. My condolences if you understand what that means. Actually, trying to rank the badness of these spoofs is pointless. It's like trying to argue that a dirty diaper baked in a microwave smells worse than Limburger cheese-covered roadkill left to rot in the hot August sun for a week. Both are unfathomably awful and should be avoided at all costs.
The film opens with Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan appearing in a Paranormal Activity spoof. Because what could be funnier than seeing two drug addicts with mental health problems mocking their own issues? It's so nice that they could take the time to appear in this movie rather than, you know, getting some substance abuse treatment or something. We are told that the Sheen/Lohan coupling produced three children, all of whom disappeared. Ashley Tisdale and Simon Rex play the couple who adopt the feral children after they're found in the woods. This, in turn, leads to send-ups of recent horror movies such as Mama, Evil Dead and Insidious, as well as non-horror films like Inception and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. There's even a Madea reference because...well, who the hell knows why? Scary Movie 5 moves pointlessly from one cinematic reference point to the next, as though taking a recognizable scene from a better movie and adding a fart joke is the pinnacle of wit. After 70 minutes, the film abruptly ends, treating the audience to a full 15 minutes of blooper-laden end credits. You'd never see Terrence Malick pulling this kind of crap!
Aside from lazy, sub-par Mad Magazine-style parodies, Scary Movie 5 and its brethren suffer from the same problem: these flicks are never up to date by the time they hit multiplex screens. Paranormal Activity, which is referenced repeatedly, came out almost five years ago and has already spawned three sequels. Is there anything left to mock? We live in an age where the internet gives us the immediate ability to spoof, via Twitter jokes, Funny or Die videos, and Facebook memes. Mocking something several years old is nothing less than comedy doom. Even when Scary Movie 5 tries to be current, it doesn't work. Evil Dead came out only a week ago, meaning all the filmmakers had to work with was that film's trailer. Not exactly stinging satire, if you know what I mean. Shockingly, the screenplay was written by David Zucker, who helped create this genre with the classic Airplane! and now seems intent on destroying it.
Wow, that may come off sounding harsh. I feel like I should maybe try to say something positive about Scary Movie 5, so here goes: there is no one named Wayans in it.
Okay, that's not entirely fair. I liked the first Scary Movie, which the Wayans clan was responsible for. Scary Movie 2 and 3 had their moments too. The franchise has run its course, though. Whatever appeal it may have once held has long since dissipated. I laughed exactly one time during Scary Movie 5. There's a good joke involving an ape, a bathroom, and a narrator who sounds like Morgan Freeman. Beyond that, I chuckled a couple of times, but only because some of the jokes were incredibly dumb, and I have a tendency to chuckle at dumb things when it's easier than curling up into a ball and crying. Perhaps the best way to sum up my overall experience is to say that however miserable your work day was, mine involved seeing this movie, so I win.
In the spirit of Scary Movie 5, I considered ending this review with a list of all the sentences I scratched or re-wrote. But I won't do that. Hey, remember Black Swan? Wasn't that an awesome movie? Good night, folks!
( out of four)
Scary Movie 5 is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language, some drug material, partial nudity, comic violence and gore. The running time is 1 hour and 25 minutes.
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