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STUDIO: Dimension Home Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 91 Minutes
• Feature commentary w/ filmmakers
• Deleted scenes and outtakes
• The Man Behind the Laugh featurette
• Zany, Spoof Humor featurette
• Interviewer’s Worst Nightmare featurette
• Visual Effects of Scary Movie 4
• The Youngbloodz profile
• Rappers as Actors featurette
"It’s Scary Movie meets Scary
Movie 2 meets Scary Movie 3!"
Craig Bierko (The Thirteenth Floor),
Anna Farris (the other Scary Movies), Carmen Electra, Anthony
Anderson (Hustle and Flow).
The zany, free-association parody is back for
another outing in director Zucker’s second foray in the franchise. This time, War
of the Worlds and The Grudge are at ground zero, though
the fallout also engulfs The Village,
Oprah, and more. Horror clichés are skewered, Carmen Electra
wears a corset, and Michael Madsen is convincingly neurotic.
TLC ratings have soared.
A brief history of David Zucker: David, along
with Jerry Zucker, and Jim Abrahams, helped to create the sight-gags, double
entendres, innuendo, puns, and ridiculousness of such comedy classics as Airplane!,
Top Secret, and Kentucky Fried Movie. When the
Wayans clan left the Scary Movie franchise after number dos, the
Zucker-Abrahams teams stepped in, sans Jerry, to reinvigorate the filth and
parody, with Abrahams co-writing and David at the helm. As a result, the third
and fourth sequels have been completely different animals, as Zucker is far
more proficient with the "torrent of bite-sized humor" than with the
gross-out, long-con style potty humor of the Wayans’ stuff.
Not that the potty humor is gone. Oh no, it is
quite intact. It’s just the delivery method that has changed. Call it more
frenetic, more detached. Where the first two Scary Movies made a
greater concession to following a plot of sorts, numbers three and four bounce
from parody to parody like, well, like me in a manic phase.
Scary Movie 4 pays
lip-service to plot by combining elements of The Grudge and War
of the Worlds into a crazy, two-sided quest to save the world from
aliens bent on raping our household appliances, and also wiping all of life
Sales of crossbows have also soared.
There are something like three varieties of humor on display here, and
I’m going to compartmentalize them, because I don’t really have a sense of
humor myself. You got your standard parody humor, which is mostly sight-gags
and farce based on the plots and situations of the parodied material; you got
your Craig Bierko storyline and resulting extreme-deadpan humor; and you got
your brief flashes of original humor that mostly occurs around the moments that
bridge the film’s plot between those of its subjects.
There’s not much to say about the first type that
can’t be inferred. It’s the sort of thing you get in the previews, such as Shaq
and Dr. Phil falling victim to Jigsaw from the Saw franchise. This stuff
is mostly slapstick, and makes up the majority of the film’s content. It is by
no means dull, but it’s not particularly creative either. It’s disposable, the
sort of stuff you don’t want to watch while you’re eating, for fear of choking,
but which won’t be funny at all the second time through. (Damn me, though, if in
their Saw parody toward the end they didn’t come up with a death trap
that puts the ones from the actual franchise to shame. That’s some parody.)
Hey, look! William Wallace did go to heaven!
The branching of the plot allows the humor
established in the first three movies to follow Anna Farris around, while Craig
Bierko gets to loosely follow Tom Cruise’s journey in War of the Worlds. What’s
great about this second thread is that Craig Bierko is a seriously good
straight man. Mostly, the humor surrounds him, and plays off of him. His thread
isn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as Farris’, but it does dig into a different
style of humor which is refreshing in this arguably stagnant franchise.
What really makes the movie worthwhile, though,
are the original jokes, those times when the filmmakers forego tired Brokeback
Mountain riffs and repetitive slapstick for dialogue-centric wordplay
which had me in stitches more than once. Whenever Farris and Bierko have a
conversation, it’s a beautiful example of two-person dialogues in which neither
person seems to really be listening to the other. The two play well together,
both as broad as can be, and are genuinely funny.
Too bad there isn’t more of that stuff. Rather
than being a film in earlier Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker tradition, in which a genre
was targeted and parodied without mercy, Scary Movie 4 is a parody of
particulars: scenes, characters, characters. That formula ends up being too
restrictive of the type of irreverent humor that this team has proven
themselves well capable of.
Kids: don’t let this happen to you. Invest now in a patent-pending
"ultra-circumsision" from your friendly rabbi!
doesn’t really mean much, anymore. There’s not a bare breast to be found, I’m
sad to report. However, there are copious bonus features to soothe your savage
There is a
feature-length commentary with David Zucker, writer/producer Craig Mazin, and
producer Robert K. Weiss. This commentary is a lot of fun, mostly because
Zucker is so incredibly easy to make laugh. He’s a chuckler, and something of a
giggler, and it has that infectious quality that the best laughs have. Arguably,
the commentary brings on more laughs than the actual film.
There are fifteen
deleted or extended scenes, with optional commentary. Nothing too special here,
except for the brief glimpse of Li’l Jon without his persona ladled on thickly.
There is also a brief blooper reel, along with the other outlooks.
The actors all
contribute to a five minute profile of David Zucker, praising his comedic
sensibility and daring, and yelling at him to stop laughing during their takes
because he’s making the shoot run long.
Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker mode and method get a little bit of exposure in a brief
biography of the director’s history, as recounted primarily by Craig Bierko.
Then the throwaways: a
brief segment in which a amateur journalist tries to interview the
uncoopoerative cast, a special effects featurette, a profile of rap group The
Youngbloodz which lasts longer than their cameo, and a short segment on casting rappers to play themselves in the
5.8 out of 10