Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 14, 2013)
From 2000 through 2006, we got four entries in the Scary Movie franchise. When I reviewed Scary Movie 4 in 2006, I assumed we’d get a fifth flick in a couple of years. As I stated then, these films cost little to make and did reasonably well at the box office, so a continuation of the series seemed logical.
I was correct that we’d get another release, but it took a lot longer than I expected. Scary Movie V - or “Scary MoVie, as billed on the posters – showed up in 2013, a whopping seven years after the last film.
Did anything change in the seven years between movies? Not really; MoVie came with a new director but featured the same writers as well as a lot of the actors from the prior flicks – and a whole lot of the same lowest common denominator humor.
After a mysterious force kills Charlie Sheen (himself), his three children go missing. After a couple of stoners (Snoop Dogg and Mac Miller) discover Kathy (Gracie Whitton), Lily (Ava Kolker) and Aidan (Dylan and Ryan Morris) in a cabin, the kids wind up with Charlie’s brother Dan (Simon Rex) and his wife Jody (Ashley Tisdale). She greets this task without enthusiasm, especially given the creepy nature of the youngsters.
From there – oh, who cares? The flick barely attempts a plot, as MoVie simply uses this framework as an excuse to parody a variety of modern horror films as well as efforts such as Black Swan and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
This creates a change from prior Scary Movie efforts and makes this one closer to spoofs like Date Movie and Epic Movie, parodies that cast an extremely wide net. Whereas the prior Scary Movies tended to focus on a couple of flicks to mock, Date/Epic/etc. took a loose framework and made fun of whatever pop culture topics they chose.
While I never found the Scary Movies amusing, I did at least think they stood above Date/Epic/etc. due to that concentration. Junk like Epic Movie and Date Movie just appeared to pick subject matter at random and showed virtually no cleverness.
I guess writers David Zucker and Pat Proft took notes at those flicks, for MoVie definitely follows the “broad brush” pattern. I guess it focuses most on Swan, Paranormal Activity and Mama, but those aren’t especially consistent, and the movie often takes on spoofs almost at random.
This is not what we call a change for the better. Granted, I didn’t find a lot of laughs in the prior films, but at least they showed greater coherence. MoVie often feels like a whole bunch of gags cobbled together with next to no forethought, as the filmmakers simply latch onto as many crass sights as they can conjure and hope that we’ll find merriment.
Others might, but I don’t. If the film attempted any cleverness, I might discover something worthwhile, but instead, it simply throws scores of gags related to violence and/or sex. Those seem to be the filmmakers’ go-to laugh-prompters: when in doubt, see someone punched in the head or kicked in the nuts.
Or give us cheap sexual humor. Repeat the word “penis” as much as possible, or show children with dildos. Hey, let’s combine the two, such as a scene in which a five-year-old shoves a popsicle up her own butt.
Really? This is what passes for humor? And from Zucker, someone who helped create a mix of much loved comedy films? I admit I never much cared for Airplane!, but I loved Ruthless People, and even I think Airplane! looks like utter genius compared to this crap.
Nothing works here. The actors run on autopilot, and the film rambles from one moronic spoof to another without logic or coherence. If there’s something positive to find here, I can’t locate it; even though I wasn’t fond of the first four films, they worked better than this witless atrocity.
Footnote: MoVie comes with one of the longest credit sequences I’ve ever seen. The flick lasts 1:28:07 but the credits start at 1:13:15! That means we get almost 15 minutes of credits, which equals about 17 percent of the movie’s whole length. These do include copious bloopers and a post-credits sequence, but it’s still nuts to find such a long run after the film’s end.