Scary Movie 3

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"That's not fooling anyone "

April 16th, 2013

While it had some potential Scary Movie 2 pretty much revealed that there wasn't really that much wiggle room to continue parodying the same material. Of course it made a bucket load of money and a sequel was inevitable but this time producers wanted a lower rating to maximise gross returns at the cinema (greedy bastards). The Wayans opted not to return so in stepped David Zucker creator of the Airplane! Movies.

When it comes to spoof films the holy grail has always been Airplane! (For me it's Naked Gun but each to their own) and it's hard to watch or mention a similar themed movie without someone uttering the line "It's not as good as Airplane!" To back up the changes behind the scenes casting played a huge part. Charlie Sheen (who had success with spoof series Hot Shots) was brought in with the legend that was Leslie Nielson. So in bringing Zucker and his crew to the franchise you'd expect the movie to reach lofty new heights but it actually plumps the depths on inane.

I do love sitting down to crappy sequels but depending on the movie I tend to just pick them up on DVD (I used to rent them but who does that anymore?). After the second movie I was done with the franchise as a cinema goer and defiantly not on board with PG rated shenanigans. That said at the time of the movie's release I was actually working in a cinema chain that was showing the movie. During my break one day I popped into the movie for 20 minutes and was shocked at how unfunny and forced the material was (The trailer had a little more humour in it). Strangely the audience was loving every moment of it laughing and jeering which was enough to convince me to give the film a chance (sometimes an audience can make a film more enjoyable than it actually is). After work I sat down to the film yet my opinion never changed.

Largely following Signs Tom (Sheen) and his family are dealing with strange occurrences on their farm which may be due to alien involvement also Charles brother wants to start a rap career. Anna Faris' Cindy returns (the only major holdover from the previous movies aside from a brilliant Regina Hall cameo) as a reporter investigating crop circles as well as dealing with the adoption of a kid. Also the president (Neilson) put plans in action in case of an alien attack. Also Michael Jackson wants to steal Charlie's kids. Also………I'm sure you get the idea.

While story is ultimately unimportant to comedy it needs to make a modicum of sense otherwise we have nothing to invest in. Where Scary Movie 2 was largely scatter shot moments they all took place in a sequentially related timeline (aside from the opening). Scary Movie 3 jumps from slow moving parody to the next with little to no care what came prior or what is to follow. Is it any wonder they struggled to find a suitable conclusion to the film. While Scary Movie 2 may have had multiple endings ditched (they were relatively short moments) they all kind of worked for the story that was created. This movie had to throw out 20 minutes of content because it was unfunny (if you can believe that), unrelated and boring (don't take my word for it you can view the content on the DVD as well as commentary by the director). Did they make this film up scene by scene?

I knocked the second movie for not having enough content to justify the label of Scary Movie but when compared to this it really stayed within the realm of horror despite commercial parodies and the like. Aside from Signs and Ring this really is just a general parody of cinema and pop cuture released the same year (8 Mile, Matrix Reloaded, Hulk) than actually aiming at the horror genre. As of this I'm not really aware what was the purpose of the feature aside from making money? They are not parodying a theme just repeating the most recognisable scenes (that haven't even been established as iconic yet) of the year and rather than playing on repeated camera techniques or dialogue inconsistencies the movies are used as backgrounds for people to stumble around in and act goofy. At least the god awful Date Movie had the theme of Rom Coms.

But let's ignore the unrelated movies and sequences as the movie could be saved if it was actually funny. While I liked the novelty of adult comedy in the first 2 Scary Movies that's not a requirement to creating great comedy (Ghostbusters did fine with a family rating) but this film fails not just because of content but the execution. The first issue I have is the rather outdated comedy that Zucker ports over from comedy films of the past.

Making fun of continuity errors and the like in movies may have been amusing when consumers were less savy to film making techniques but they do not work now. Having characters props and clothes change between shots is no longer clever satire (In fact it would probably be more of note to poke fun at those who use such techniques). Also following from this point visual humour does not work the same way it used to. Putting someone in a silly costume is fair game but making something oversized such as a hat is not funny. In fact seeing someone struggle with such an item is also not funny and should not be the focus of the screen. Take the first Scary Movie for example which handled this expertly by relegating this type of humour into the background, it gave us a reason to rewatch the movie but even if it wasn't funny it wouldn't take away from the scene.

Moving away from props everything else is also dated and childlike in its immaturity (the first two movies were juvenile but more for a teen mentality). Most of the dialogue is dull in trying to connect the plot together but we very rarely get any dialogue based humour which hits the mark (The best moments are those directly lifted from Airplane!). In the movies mind we were not meant to focus on the dialogue but more in waiting for someone to fall over or harm someone else in the room. There is a little variety that on occasion someone will fart or puke.

I won't knock the movie 100% as I did chuckle at a few moments in the movie. Regina Hall appears and owns her 5 minute cameo (Shame on the producers for not giving her a bigger role). In fact her utterance of the only swearing in the film is so perfectly time I actually laughed out loud. Then there is of course Leslie neilson as the president (who also amounts to an extended cameo) who delivers lines with such energy and good humour it's hard not to smile when he is on screen. Lastly is something which I'm ashamed to admit I laughed at but the Michael Jackson moments, although mean spirited had a freshness to them that the rest of the film lacked. It may be overused to make Jackson paedophile jokes but at the time of release this was one of the first (at least in a visual way).

The other plus is with the cast. While I can't say the silly slapstick tickled me the cast do a marvellous job and play the events straight (well as straight as you can in a spoof) which does elevated the material somewhat. While the casting is not as good as the first two films (and the less said about the use of rappers the better) this is probably the best were ever likely to see in a spoof again.

Scary Movie 3 is not a film one could recommend to anyone over the age of ten. Even if showing on TV it's probably better to just watch something else especially if watching for the first time now most of the references are extremely dated.

Other reviews in the series

Scary Movie
Scary Movie 2
Scary Movie 4

Other Spoof Reviews

Stan Helsing

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Movie Details

Movie Poster Here
Director:David Zucker
Screenplay: Craig Mazin
Pat Proft
Released: 2003
Rating: 15
Starring:Anna Faris
Simon Rex
Charlie Sheen