The funniest thing about Scary Movie 3 is that Dimension’s marketing department is selling the film as the next installment of a comedy franchise that spares no one and, to quote the press notes, “pushes the envelope.” Enlisting David Zucker—expert in absurdist humor (you may remember him as the director of Airplane and one of the key men behind The Naked Gun TV show and films)—is a move presumably designed to reinvigorate the series by giving it a touch of professional credibility. But despite introducing some mean-spirited slapstick, Zucker follows the same old grade-school mentality of the first two Scary Movie films, producing a work that is thoroughly devoid of the liberating zaniness familiar to some of his previous efforts. Centered around the attempts of a ditzy reporter, Cindy Campell (Anna Faris), to track both a killer videotape and an impending alien invasion (spoofs of The Ring and Signs, respectively), and the various crackpots and idiots she meets along the way, Scary Movie 3 attempts to summarize the past few years in horror movies by stringing together some basic gags. The humor is confined to watching protagonists smack around the film’s monster, listening to a lot of “whites and blacks are different” jokes and enjoying the various abuses heaped on a little boy. The second of these tendencies is the reason behind the painfully prolonged 8 Mile parody, out of place given the film’s supposed source material and an indication of a serious lapse in inspiration and imagination. After poking fun at the two aforementioned popularly known “scary” movies, the film is at a loss for where to turn next. It seems that making any attempt to stretch their parodic reach toward anything but the most readily recognizable material is of no interest to the filmmakers, or perhaps they’re just cynically in tune with their audience. Other than a set piece involving the frantic attempts to resurrect a dead body, there’s little to recommend here. Even the usually reliable Leslie Nielsen looks baffled by his involvement in this dud, and one can only hope that he will think twice the next time his old pal Zucker comes calling.
- David Zucker
- Craig Mazin, Pat Proft
- Anna Faris, Anthony Anderson, Leslie Nielsen, Camryn Manheim, Simon Rex, Charlie Sheen, Queen Latifah, Eddie Griffin, Denise Richards
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