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"Scary Movie 4"

Directed by David Zucker.
Written by Craig Mazin and Jim Abrahams.
Starring Anna Faris, Craig Bierko, Regina Hall and Leslie Nielsen.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  4/20/06


Well, it seems for me that the "Scary Movie" series is officially on again, off again.  I loved "Scary Movie", hated "Scary Movie 2", liked "Scary Movie 3" and now...I'm back on the "she loves me not" petals, because "Scary Movie 4" takes a step backwards in terms of laughs.

Certainly, you don't come to see these flicks to catch the next "Old School"...nope, you're hoping that the team behind each flick will come up with great ways to parody horror films that have been made since the last "Scary Movie" sequel was filmed.  Evidence that those films have to be good?  Well, when you are hoping to get laughs from ripped sequences from "The Village", "Saw", "War of the Worlds" and "The Grudge", you are going to suffer.


Anna Faris is back again as Cindy Campbell, the heroine of all four "Scary Movie" films (I'm still amazed that she has been able to salvage a career out of these films); this time around, she is vaguely modeled after not only the characters she was playing from "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer", she's supposed to be playing the Sarah Michelle Gellar character from "The Grudge" in the newest sequel, playing caretaker to an old woman in a cursed home when the film opens.  Her next door neighbor, Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko, doing his best Tom Cruise impression), is trying to save his family from aliens that are attacking their home town.  Through all of this, Cindy meets up with her old friend Brenda (Regina King) as they stumble upon a hidden village and get captured by a guy that wears a funny mask, rides a tricycle and plays sick games with people's lives.

Most of "Scary Movie 4" was not funny, but I'll have to admit that if you've seen "The Grudge", the script's best work comes in watching the interplay between Cindy and the little Asian child that terrorizes the house; between an exact replica of the "CatBoy" noises that the kid made in "The Grudge" to a great exchange where the two speak to each other by stringing together Asian foods, companies and common terms with subtitles that have nothing to do with what is really being said, those parodies are the highlights of the movie.  I did chuckle during the opening number, when Shaquille O'Neal and Dr. Phil are trying to break out of the "Saw" guy's first trap.

Otherwise, there was a lot of swinging-and-missing during this flick; as mentioned, it's hard to gain a lot out of the random cameos from the film (among them, Charlie Sheen, Carmen Electra, L'il Jon, Chris Elliott, Anthony Anderson, Bill Pullman and James Earl Jones) from movies that really weren't worth parodying to begin with (seriously..."War of the Worlds"???).  There was potential with "The Village" because the movie was utter dogshit, but the scenes are brief and useless.  Most of the other faux-horror flicks from the last two years were awful, and worse, they didn't do well enough for anyone to take note of.  (Remember "Boogeyman"?  How about "The Fog"?  Or maybe "The Forgotten"?  I didn't think so.)

With its big $40 million opening last week, a "Scary Movie 5" is certainly already in the works.  Hopefully the Zucker/Abrahams team that gave us "Airplane!" and the "Naked Gun!" series will deliver their next time around.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09