THOSE OF YOU inclined to see this slasher film parody won't be disappointed—it's over-the-top funny and occasionally nothing short of hilarious. Scary Movie is not unlike the best of the Naked Gun films—jumping from spoof to ridiculous spoof so quickly that you hardly notice it's less of a movie than a series of jokes lampooning other movies you've already seen. (Scream supplies the basic plot outline.) Luckily, the jokes are mostly very, very good, albeit occasionally tasteless. (I would say "irreverent," but the word gets used too often—as if reverence were that widespread at the multiplex.) Let's just say the money shot is a Nightmare on Elm Street reference—remember what happens to Johnny Depp in those headphones?
directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans
with Jon Abrahams, Carmen Electra, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, and Cheri Oteri
opens July 7 at Meridian, Oak Tree, Varsity
But where director Keenan Ivory Wayans' I'm Gonna Get You Sucka was a stylistic aping of '70s blaxploitation flicks that occasionally referred to its sources, Scary Movie wants little to do with comedic invention unless it's a direct parody of something, anything. As a result, the relentless cinematic quotations—especially the self-conscious "we're in a movie" jokes—get tiresome after a while.
Part of me (the pre-PoMo part) still believes that parody is inherently a critique and should go deeper, somehow, than "that movie is dumb, so I will make fun of it." Scary Movie cashes in on everything it mocks, e.g., horror films starring sexy actresses just to show off their flesh, by doing just that with Carmen Electra. Moreover, it also carries the taint of what it ridicules; I lost track of how many times a female character was told to "shut up, bitch," then punched, kicked, body-slammed, or stabbed. Part of me doesn't find that particularly funny or irreverent. But another part found plenty to laugh at, and I suppose that's ostensibly the point.