Scary Movie

What they did last Halloween: Buffy, Ray, Greg, Cindy and Bobby (geddit?) know they're in trouble (l to r: Elizabeth, Shawn Wayans, Munro, Faris, Abraham).
dir Keenan Ivory Wayans
scr Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
with Jon Abrahams, Anna Faris, Shawn Wayans, Regina Hall, Shannon Elizabeth, Lochlyn Munro, Cheri Oteri, Dave Sheridan, Marlon Wayans, Carmen Electra, David L Lander, Kurt Fuller
Dimension 00/US 2 out of 5 stars
See also: SCARY MOVIE 2 (2001)
SCARY MOVIE 3 (2003) | SCARY MOVIE 4 (2006)

Review by Rich Cline
The Wayans Brothers (Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinkin' Your Juice in the Hood) take another stab at spoof with Scary Movie, and the title is one of the more clever jokes, as it was the original title for Scream (while this was originally called something like I Know What You Screamed Last Halloween). But mostly, the film just uses the scattershot approach to parody: Throw constant jokes at the screen and some of them will stick.

The premise comes from every teen slasher film ever made: Serial killer is loose in a high school, lusty adolescents are dropping like flies while a plucky, virginal young heroine (Faris, a Katie Holmes lookalike) leads her pals in the quest to survive, even though her frustrated boyfriend (Abrahams, who could double for Freddie Prinze Jr) is the prime suspect. Besides the obvious targets, jabs are thrown at the likes of Blair Witch, The Sixth Sense, Dawson's Creek, Baywatch and even Riverdance. Not to mention gross-out comedies, which this film out-grosses at every turn.

The more subtle jokes and some fantastic throwaway lines are the best thing here, along with dead-on performances and a level of production that's generally much higher than the films we're laughing at. Other, longer set pieces and running gags fare less well, stretching the one-joke premise a bit too far ... and reminding us that the films being spoofed are dangerously close to satire themselves. And the final nail in the coffin is the relentless vulgarity, which is a funny joke in itself, but earns the film a well-deserved 18 certificate for frequent jokes involving genitalia and homosexuality, among other things. All in all it's better than most spoofs, but not funny enough to be a classic.

[18--strong adult themes and situations, vulgarity, violence, language] 4.Sep.00
US release 7.Jul.00; UK release 9.Sep.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall