Review: Scary Movie V / Director: Malcolm D. Lee / Screenplay: Pat Proft, David Zucker / Starring: Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Erica Ash, Molly Shannon, Heather Locklear, J.P. Manoux, Jerry O'Connell, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan / Release Date: Out Now
Idiocracy is coming. Mike Judge posits, in his criminally underrated dystopian comedy, that America's number one television show will be a reality TV show called Ow My Balls. The top-grossing movie – a blockbuster called Ass. Ass meets Ow My Balls in Scary Movie V, which edges us ever closer to Idiocracy.
That there are now five Scary Movie movies is terrifying in itself. The first film, while crude and unintelligent at least offers a few laughs. With this fifth entry, the well seems to have dried. Anna Faris is finally gone (the series never deserved her anyway) leaving co-star Simon Rex and newcomer Ashley Tisdale to keep the Scary Movie boat afloat. Charlie Sheen is there too, briefly, but he's gone within the first ten minutes. The actors are just gravy though. No one watches Scary Movie for the performances. With or without Charlie Sheen, this movie is nothing but a relentless procession of poo, pee and puke gags. There's also people repeatedly falling over and being punched a lot. Sometimes they mix it up a bit by having these things all happen at the same time. It makes Ow My Balls look like Breaking Bad.
The one thing Scary Movie V does well is the quality of the references. It's impressively up-to-date, with the majority of the story involving a Mama spoof, with bits of Paranormal Activity 4 and even Evil Dead thrown in for good measure. We never thought we'd see the day when a Movie movie spoofed Evil Dead, but here it is. It's just a shame that it couldn't be better. Opening with Snoop Dogg and a chum describing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Blair Witch Project as 'cabin in the woods' movies, the Scary Movie franchise is a series for people who know nothing about scary movies.
Comedy, more so than any other genre, is incredibly subjective. One man's Mrs. Brown's Boys (ugh) is another man's personal hell. That said, it's hard to picture anyone really enjoying Scary Movie V. It's like ninety minutes of Peter Griffin fighting that bloody chicken. A cameo from Tyler Perry's execrable Madea character should tell you who Scary Movie V is aimed at, as it seems to be much the same audience. That said, with such a constant rate of fire, it's inevitable that some of it will stick - in much the same way as chimp turds stick to the wall in the film's Rise of the Planet of the Apes spoof. While repetitive and dumb, at least a couple of the slapstick gags work (Simon Rex makes a particularly good punching bag) and you'll have to be a complete stick in the mud not to laugh at the motorised pool cleaner party, or the family dog's Inception dream. The best joke? The revelation that Charlie Sheen's cat is called 'Emilio' (as in Estevez, geddit). It also puts forward a surprisingly good casting suggestion in Jerry O' Connell, playing Christian Grey in a Fifty Shades routine. Bonus points for Terry Crews too, who isn't in the film for nearly enough.
Go in with suitably low expectations (somewhere around ankle height) and you may be pleasantly surprised. It's the most tolerable spoof for a good while. That's faint praise though. At this point, five entries into the Scary Movie franchise, the joke is very much on us. To quote Private Joe Bowers of Idiocracy, talking of a better world: “People wrote books and movies. Movies with stories, that made you care about whose ass it was, and why it was farting. And I believe that time can come again!” So please, harmless and occasionally amusing as it may be, we beg of you, give Scary Movie V the cold shoulder. You could save the world. You could prevent Idiocracy.
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