Film Review: Scary Movie 4

Posted in Reviews on May, 10 2006 5:26 PM

Starring: Craig Bierko, Anna Faris, Leslie Nielson
Cert: 15
Released: 13th April 2006

Tom Ryan (Bierko) is a blue-collar crane operator going through a divorce because he's an unreliable husband and father. He has, however, been given a chance to redeem himself when his children come to stay.

Cindy Campbell (Faris) is a woman looking for some stability in her life whether that be a home, job or romance. Her new job has her caring for a catatonic woman next door to Tom. When the pair meet, it's kismet.

But the course of true love never runs smooth and theirs is tested when an evil ghost begins to terrorise Cindy's life and aliens invade the planet.

Tom realises his responsibility is to protect his children whereas Cindy is given a clue as to how she can destroy the aliens. The pair must go their separate ways and only hope they'll survive to get the chance to see each other again.

Their routes to survival and saving are hampered by a hermit gunman, a village community lost in time and, of course, the thirty-foot impenetrable tripods intent on wiping out all humanity with their flesh disintegrating rays.

Meanwhile, during reading time at a primary school, the President of The United States of America (Neilson) snaps into action. As soon as he finds out what happens to the little duck in the story book.

Talk about jumping on the bandwagon a bit late - and that's me I'm talking about because I'm a Scary Movie virgin.

I suppose the reason I've stayed away from the earlier entries has been based on sheer conjecture; the fact that everything I've ever seen come from the Wayans brothers stable has been tantamount to utter drivel. Also, that the Scary Movie franchise is a series of films trying to make money from riding on the backs of other people's talent.

Now I'm not one totally against pastiche, parody and satire as long as that is what it is. A good parody is a clever take on another subject and most that I've seen from these guys has lacked anything remotely linked to the notion of clever (see Date Movie). Hence why I walk into Scary Movie 4 with premonitions of 90 minutes of sniffing with disdain.

I'm not entirely disappointed (with my premonition or the film itself) and actually quite enjoy watching Bierko in an outright comedy role for a change and Faris isn't completely painful on the eyes either as well as competently playing the sweet naïvely stupid heroine.

The jokes are pretty obvious and pastiche an eclectic array of films (War of The Worlds, The Grudge, The Village, Saw) but at times the tying together of a cohesive storyline is just a tad too disjointed for my liking. A bit more thought could have smoothed each transition and given the film a bit more credibility.

There are the usual smattering of cameos which makes me wonder how desperate some of these 'A' listers are for work. And then there's Charlie Sheen, too.

Then there are the obvious problems of if you don't know the source material then the jokes will probably go over your head. Or, more likely, be beneath you. Obscure American cultural references aplenty (Dr Phil, anyone?) and most of The Grudge aspects just didn't stir a chuckle with me. This draws me to compare with, director, David Zucker's shining glory, the classic Airplane! From whence all others have come, aspire to reach but always fall short. A film that was so self-referential it was positively Ouroboros with all its jokes universally appealing whilst still specifically parodying its sources.

The filming and special effects were all spot on reflections of their originals even down to the creepy Japanese child ghost but, overall, in terms of my deflowering, I'm not completely ashamed of doing it but think, perhaps, I should have saved myself for someone more special.


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