It takes "Scary Movie" almost until its closing credits to produce its first real out-loud laugh -- and even then it's a laugh mostly for those who have seen "The Usual Suspects."
Don't get me wrong. This post-modern horror spoof has a respectable number of chuckles, snorts, snickers and small giggles courtesy of scattered moments of Mel Brooks/Zucker Bros. lampoonery. It has a ready supply of eeeewwwwws, too, since director Keenan Ivory Wayans takes more than a few cues from the "Something About Mary"/"South Park" school of raunchy comedy.
But just adding fart jokes, dick jokes and pop culture winks with a half-life of two weeks to scenes lifted wholesale from "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" does not a comedy make.
When the parody works, it's in short bursts of creativity (a girl who talks in the movies is killed by the audience while the psycho stands by snickering), sustained by a shamelessly silly cast of career second bananas.
Precious newcomer Anna Faris innocently bats her eyelashes while resisting her naughty side in the role of the virginal high school girl whose friends fall victim to a mass-murdering masked lunatic. It's the Neve Campbell part, but her resemblance to Katie Holmes from "Dawson's Creek" does not go unexploited.
Jon Abrahams ("Outside Providence") is her sexually frustrated boyfriend whose patience and understanding are wearing thin. Cheri Oteri, "Saturday Night Live's" most obnoxious export, chews scenery as the obligatory tabloid TV reporter. Dave Sheridan (MTV's "Buzzkill") steals scenes as Doofy, a drooling retard and wannabe cop who is a dead ringer for David Arquette's dopey sheriff Dewey from the "Scream" flicks.
The killer in the Munch-like mask is uncredited, but for my money he's the movie's funniest performer, constantly scratching his head at how stupid these kids are, getting stoned out of his gourd (his mask changes to reflect his inebriated condition) and goofing on Budwiser's "Wazzup!" commercials -- a gag obviously an afterthought edited into the picture at the last minute.
But that's the kind of movie "Scary" is -- a cash-in-and-run effort that knows its target audience is easily amused and just throws random episodes of horror flick schtick at the screen in no particular order, hoping the good gags don't land too far apart.
Wayans, who helped pen the movie with six other writers including his talentless brother Marlon and his promising brother Shawn (both have roles in the movie) doesn't seem to realize that his spontaneous, throwaway bits (oh-so-girlie Faris shaving her face and -- eww! -- tongue!) and his running background gags (Shawn plays an ambiguously gay football player) are the movie's best japes.
It's the bloated, protracted set piece gags (the scenes that ape "Scream" and "Summer") that are "Scary Movie's" abject duds more often than not.
Run time: 88 mins
In Theaters: Friday 7th July 2000
Box Office USA: $156.5M
Box Office Worldwide: $278M
Distributed by: Dimension Films
Production compaines: Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, Gold/Miller Productions, Wayans Bros. Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 60 Rotten: 52
IMDB: 6.2 / 10
Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans
Starring: Carmen Electra as Drew Decker, Dave Sheridan as The Killer/Doofy Gilmore, Anna Faris as Cindy Campbell, Jon Abrahams as Bobby Prinze, Regina Hall as Brenda Meeks, Marlon Wayans as Shorty Meeks, Shannon Elizabeth as Buffy Gilmore, Cheri Oteri as Gail Hailstorm, Shawn Wayans as Ray Wilkins, Keenen Ivory Wayans as Slave, Marissa Jaret Winokur as Garage Victim, James Van Der Beek as Dawson Leery, Kurt Fuller as The Sheriff, Lochlyn Munro as Greg Phillippe
Also starring: David L Lander