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'Scary'? Nah, Just an Annoying Gas Pain

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 7, 2000


    'Scary Movie' Shannon Elizabeth, Shawn Wayans, Lochlyn Munro, Anna Faris and Jon Abrahams in "Scary Movie." (Dimension Films)
If you think pooping in your pants is funny, give it up for "Scary Movie."

The Wayans brothers' new movie spoofs "Scream," itself a much savvier spoof of high school horror movie cliches. The only thing that's truly scary about the movie is the escalating vulgarity of the latest in a string of skanky comedies by filmmakers determined to out-gross the other.

The Farrelly brothers may have started it all with that salute to intestinal distress, "Dumb & Dumber," but director Keenen Ivory Wayans and his brothers Shawn and Marlon have outdone the other brother team in all categories: insensitivity, tastelessness and stupidity. This sucker is as nasty as the river of phlegm the Wayanses employ in playful homage to "The Blair Witch Project."

You think getting off on pastry is outrageous (a la "American Pie"), wait till you see the bats fly out of one ingenue's underwear or the shriveled testicles swing below the gym teacher's leather miniskirt. As if anticipating potential one-upmanship from other filmmakers, the Wayanses don't leave it at one or two flatulence jokes--the whole movie is a gas.

While it is true you can never go wrong with such jokes, the Wayanses don't know when to quit. The same can be said of "In Living Color," their uneven but often hilarious TV series.

Though the picture has its moments--a witty albeit offensive opening sequence, in which Carmen Electra lambastes Drew Barrymore's sluttish turn in the first "Scream," and the plucky heroine's "Matrix"-like duel with a hook-toting Munch monster. But the first 10 minutes are its funniest, most inventive and best crafted. The Wayanses seemed to have stopped worrying about the quality of their work from that point on.

The plot, such as it is, borrows from "Urban Legend," "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "Halloween H20" and everything in between. It all starts with Electra's murder, after which a group of teens (all played by 20-to-30-year-old actors) discover that they are potential victims of this fiend. The cast, mostly newcomers, is headed by Marlon Wayans as a handsome jock with sexual identity problems. Gays may not be amused, but then neither will many African Americans. The Wayanses pick on everybody, even the mentally retarded.

"Scary Movie," whose gags are as sexually graphic as any I've ever seen, may very well be Jack Valenti's worst nightmare. How did a movie with a giant pubic-hair trimmer get an R-rating? And just pray that the Farrellys and the Wayanses never team up.

SCARY MOVIE (95 minutes, at area theaters) is rated R for drug use, obscenity, sexually explicit humor and nudity.


© Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company

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