SCARY MOVIE 3
*** (out of 5)
October 24, 2003
Anna Faris as CINDY
Charlie Sheen as TOM
Simon Rex as GEORGE
Leslie Neilsen as PRESIDENT HARRIS
Anthony Anderson as MAHALIK
Regina Hall as BRENDA MEEKS
Directed by: David Zucker
BY KEVIN CARR
If you’re looking for a tightly woven plot and rock-solid characters, you’re not going to find it in “Scary Movie 3.” But who are we kidding? Does anyone expect that from this film?
“Scary Movie 3,” like its predecessors, is a string of gags about genre movies that are tied together with a very weak storyline. So let’s not spend too much time on the plot. Just take “The Ring,” “Signs,” “8 Mile” and “The Matrix,” throw them in a blender, and you have the story of alien invasion, an evil girl at the bottom of the well, a wannabe white rapper and some pretentious speeches.
The real reason to see any of the “Scary Movie” films is for the gags. Overall, the whole isn’t as funny as some of the parts. While some scenes had me laughing hysterically, others had me looking at my watch and feeling like I was in the middle of a “Saturday Night Live” sketch that was just going on waaaaaay too long.
One problem with making such a disjointed spoof is that the filmmakers run the risk of not knowing what to cut from the movie before sending it to the theaters. Considering there was very little of Queen Latifah and Eddie Griffin in the print I saw, but there’s a different scene highlighted in the trailers and another I’ve seen in publicity stills, these two were some of the biggest casualties of the editing process. Was this good or bad? We’ll probably never know until the DVD comes out with an hour or so of deleted scenes.
Overall, “Scary Movie 3” is actually a very different film from its predecessors. The most noticeable difference is the creative forces behind it have changed. There isn’t the urban sharpness that Keenan Ivory Wayans infused into the first two films. In fact, the Wayans influence is noticeably completely gone, including Marlon Wayans’ stoner character.
Instead of the Wayans Brothers behind this film, it’s David Zucker. While Zucker is most famous for his involvement in classic screwball spoofs like the “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” films, he is also responsible for this summer’s “My Boss’s Daughter” – so this isn’t necessarily a glowing recommendation for the film.
Of course, no one ever suggested that David Zucker was particularly ghetto or in touch with the hip hop culture, so it is respectable that he went ahead and made his own movie without trying to directly emulate the first two. In fact, some of the funnier moments are the more subtle jokes or the throwbacks to Zucker’s earlier productions.
Leslie Neilsen reteams with Zucker as President Harris, and it’s refreshing to see him in a wacky comedy spoof that is actually funny (after painful performances in “Repossessed,” “Dracula Dead and Loving It” and “Wrongfully Accused”).
Anthony Anderson, who seems to be cropping up in every mid-list movie nowadays (with lackluster performances in “Kangaroo Jack,” “Cradle 2 the Grave” and “Malibu’s Most Wanted”), plays the sexually confused rapper Mahalik. Reportedly, additional scenes were shot and added to the film after Anderson’s character was a hit with test audiences. Sadly, now there’s too much of him, and often when there’s a scene that’s gone on too long, it happens to center around Anderson.
Anna Faris reprises her role as Cindy, but is now out of school and working at a television station. She’s gone back to her natural blonde from the dark-haired Sindy in the first two flicks. (For those rabid Anna Faris fans out there, this is a plus, because she is really, really, really hot as a blonde – as we all learned from watching “The Hot Chick.”)
“Scary Movie 3” also skewers new sacred cows. Maybe this is because horror movies have changed over the years. The slashers of the mid-1990s are falling out of favor, opening the playing field to more cerebral horror flicks like “The Ring” and “Signs” (the film’s two biggest targets). With the recent resurgence of horror just this year with ground-breaking flicks like “28 Days Later” and “Cabin Fever,” not to mention old stand-by horror icons like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Freddy vs. Jason,” it’ll be interesting to see how “Scary Movie 4” (which is already in preproduction) turns out.