Scary Movie 5
April 12, 2013
Ashley Tisdale as Jody
Simon Rex as Dan
Charlie Sheen as Himself
Lindsay Lohan as Herself
The spoof franchise is back with prominently featured parodies of Paranormal Activity, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Black Swan and Mama. Bit scenes are devoted to several other films, including the Evil Dead remake. Franchise fans should keep their expectations muted as Scary Movie 5 has been stuffed with mostly overplayed template jokes that have little to do with the parodied action.
The intro scene will surprise few because it has been prominently featured on the promos. Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan are involved in an intimate moment which he films for ‘security’ purposes, before some unusual events occur. The scene mocks the trouble both actors have had with the law and produces some chuckles – setting the tone for a film mostly devoid of laugh-out-loud moments but capable of producing hit and miss jokes.
The principle action (it is difficult to characterize this amalgamation of clichés as a plot or story) revolves around Dan and Jody, who must adopt their strange and unkempt nieces – found living like animals in a cabin in the woods (Mama). When not at home, Dan works on a project to imbue apes with intelligence before it goes awry and the apes are accidently set loose on the city (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). At same time, Jody pursues her dream of becoming a star ballerina (Black Swan). Meanwhile, security cameras record highly irregular activity in the house (Paranormal Activity).
Jokes attack the audience at every turn, but rarely are the chuckle producers related to the parody. The Evil Dead scene approached the horror from a comedic and mostly entertaining angle. There is also a rather amusing send up of movies in which professionals are called to rid houses of evil spirits. But these exceptions aside, most of the good jokes exist independent of the parody – like entertaining hitchhikers just along for the ride. For example, one of the funniest moments involves Jody using the pregnancy test app on her smart phone, which calls her a slut after she pees on it.
Yet, on the balance the humor is less than innovative and lopsidedly repetitive. Just like the funniest moments have little to do with the horror parody most of them are also crammed into the first half of the film with the last half occupied by more or less copies of the same jokes and continuations of gags – some of which seem to be running marathons. And just like someone who has watched a marathon, at some point you are going to glance at your watch or phone to check the time. Or you may start paying closer attention to the distracting behavior of those around you in an effort to endure until the latest addition to this tired franchise crosses the finish line.
Bottom Line: Franchise fans will be disappointed if they expect this one to tap the hilarity of the earliest iterations. It is the same shtick, but less humorous. Still many of the jokes aren’t bad and worth a weekday matinee ticket, but there’s better stuff out there for the evenings and weekends.