The latest and worst entry in the Scary Movie franchise begins with Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen in bed together. There’s a joke about Lohan’s driving ability. There’s a joke about how much Sheen parties. Wait, you’ve heard those jokes before? Well, what if I told you that the whole thing is also a parody of Paranormal Activity? Oh, you’ve heard that joke before? Then you should probably steer clear of Scary Movie V, a film composed almost entirely of jokes that were much funnier when you read them on Twitter years ago.
Hitting theaters seven years after the last Scary Movie, the new film doesn’t even feature the ameliorating presence of Anna Faris, who gave the earlier films a certain spoofy grace. In her place is High School Musical refugee Ashley Tisdale, her face frozen in an eyeroll of mild irritation. Who can blame her? The film hopscotches between too-late riffs on Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Inception, Insidious, and Black Swan. At a running time of 86 minutes, it’s about as long as an episode of Saturday Night Live, except with less laughs and worse storytelling.
In a film this bad, you look for bright spots. Molly Shannon, Heather Locklear, Usher, and Darrell Hammond all stop by for parts that last about one minute onscreen and probably took less time to shoot. Franchise mainstay Simon Rex is much funnier than anyone with the rësumë ”Adult film actor-turned-VJ-turned-rapper” has any right to be. The ape costume is pretty decent.
Back in 2002, director Malcolm D. Lee made the Blaxploitation spoof Undercover Brother. It wasn’t a great movie, but at least the comedy had a certain specificity, knowingly riffing on the tropes of its genre. Here, Lee’s spoofing barely even scratches the surface. Weirdly, the central plotline of the film is taken wholesale from Mama — a movie that hit theaters just three months ago. Points for topicality, but that only increases the sense that we’re watching a rush job. Reportedly, Scary Movie V cost $20 million to make — roughly $20 million more than the entire budget of the first Paranormal Activity. Somehow, it actually looks cheaper than Paranormal Activity. It’s less funny, too. D