Scary Movie 3 (2003)

Scary Movie 3 (2003)

Great trilogies come in threes.

Cindy Campbell is now a reporter investigating reports of crop circles appearing all over the country, whilst also trying to get to the bottom of a mysterious video tape which kills people. Meanwhile the President of the United States has to contend with a possible alien invasion.

 

Where to start? It’s pretty hard to write a review for something like Scary Movie 3. You’re either going to love it or hate it. There’s no middle ground. The only reason you will be here is because of the previous two films. You won’t just hope aboard the franchise mid-way.

Just like the previous two films, your enjoyment of this third Scary Movie film will come solely from a) knowing what the films are that are being spoofed and referenced and b) your tolerance for crude toilet humour. For the first time in this series, the Wayans Brothers who wrote, directed, starred and did who knows what else in the first two films, were nowhere to be found. For the record, I hate them. I feel that their routines aren’t funny, their jokes are terrible and their reliance on cheap homophobic and sexual innuendo is too low brow to laugh at. Don’t get me wrong, I like my cheap gags as much as the next person but I don’t like watching a film full of them. With the Wayan Brothers out of the picture, the film immediately gains extra marks in my book although the end product is a spoof which is just as messy, hit-and-miss and ultimately pointless as the others.

I say spoof like it actually means something at this stage. The first Scary Movie did a pretty decent job of sticking to spoofing slasher films with a few pop-culture gags and other film references thrown in for good measure. The second one resorted to piling on more cheap bodily fluid gags as well as roping in totally irrelevant films to spoof like Charlie’s Angels. For the third time round, the Scary Movie series is taking less pops at horror films and more of the likes of 8 Mile and The Matrix (again) as well as a whole host of ‘flavour of the moment’ pop culture shows such as Pop Idol. The trouble with the regular pop-culture references is that they are already dated despite attempting to be seen as ‘now’ and current.

The plot, if you can call it that, is an amalgamation of about four different films and it’s not worked together very well – it feels more like a showcase collection of smaller self-contained spoofs banded together to pad out the running time. Director David Zucker knows a thing or two about spoofs and parodies (being one of the geniuses behind the likes of Airplane!, The Naked Gun and more) and uses the scattergun approach yet again meaning that loads of jokes and sight gags are thrown around in the hope that some stick and make you laugh. The Wayans’ overt crudeness has been toned down as a result and with it, the quota of jokes has too. But the strength here is that although the jokes fired at the screen are less, the ones that are fired usually hit and at least they are mainly clean so you won’t feel you have cheapened yourself laughing to a bodily fluid gag.

Everyone in the cast is game for a laugh though which helps. Anna Faris returns again as Cindy Campbell and it’s nice to see that she actually has a knack for doing deadpan and doing it pretty well too (not to mention she’s quite cute). Also along for the ride are Leslie Nielsen and Charlie Sheen, two guys who know their fair share of spoofs (Nielsen starring in Airplane! and The Naked Gun and Sheen starring in the almost as good Hot Shots and Hot Shots: Part Deux). Sheen isn’t given as much to do as he should given his comedy pedigree – and this was before he went totally off the rails and became an even bigger celebrity with his porn stars and cocaine antics. Nielsen is funny in spits and spurts but his routine has been stale for years and its almost embarrassing watching him at times, like watching your drunken granddad make a fool of himself after Christmas dinner.

However he does star in one of the highlight moments of the film where the President thinks a room full of handicapped people is actually a front for an alien invasion and proceeds to start punching their lights out to escape. The other highlight being the spoof of The Others, where Charlie Sheen removes the sheet off his daughter’s head to reveal none other than a Michael Jackson look-a-like who wants to bed him and his daughter (I don’t want a lawsuit for saying it is him but it all comes off kind of creepy now). They are about the only two worthwhile moments that I can remember.

 

Scary Movie 3 continues the trend of worsening sequels and then some.  There are occasional laughs to be had but most of the time it’s at the expense of some former stars and seeing how low they will stoop to resurrect their careers. This is not what the first Scary Movie was about and the writers seem to have forgotten that the clue is in the title – this should be a horror spoof series, not every man and the kitchen sink.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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