A Nightmare on Spoof Street
By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 7, 2000
Here, in alphabetical order, is a partial litany of the cultural flotsam that is mocked by "Scary Movie," the latest in a long and increasingly unfunny line of scattershot parodies of genre movies (in this case the teen slasher flick):
Shannon Elizabeth, Shawn Wayans, Lochlyn Munro, Anna Faris and Jon Abrahams in "Scary Movie."
"American Pie," "Amistad," "Baywatch," "The Blair Witch Project," breast implants,
the Budweiser "Whasssuuup?" commercial, "Dawson's Creek," gay men, "Halloween 1
through Halloween H20," "I Know/Still Know What You Did Last Summer," large
penises, "Laverne and Shirley," lesbians, "The Matrix," oral sex, people who talk
in movie theaters, pubic hair, Riverdance, "Screams 1 through 3," "Shakespeare in
Love," "The Sixth Sense," small penises, testicles, "Titanic," tongue kissing, "The
Usual Suspects," vaginal freshness and "The Wayans Bros." TV show.
According to director Keenen Ivory Wayans, whose brothers Shawn and Marlon (along with Four Other Guys You Never Heard Of) wrote the script about a group of sex-crazed teenagers being picked off by a
masked serial killer, "Scary Movie" is more than a parody of one type of
entertainment; it's all sorts of comedies rolled into one."
What is this, a movie or a Gordita?
What we have here is a classic case of too many cooks or in this instance, too
many jokes spoiling the broth. What aspect of the slasher exactly, or the teen
comedy for that matter, are the Wayanses supposed to be spoofing by casting
full-time has-been David L. Lander (remember TV's Squiggy?) as the high school
principal. And, guys, guess what? The Riverdance joke smelled stale when it popped
up in 1998's "Mafia!" too. "Amistad?" Sorry, I can't even begin to guess what you
were thinking there.
"Scary Movie" stars (also in alphabetical order because I'm trying to be fair) Jon
Abrahams, Carmen Electra, Shannon Elizabeth, Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Lochlyn Munro and Shawn and Marlon Wayans as the unlucky corpses-to-be. As the movie grinds along, the clique is slowly winnowed
down by a pot-smoking, hook-wielding psychopath who may or may not be the guy they ran over last Halloween. While a couple of horror movie conventions are well lampooned (the nubile quarry fleeing in her underwear, the camera zooming precipitously into the victim's horrified face), most of the satire, such as it is, consists of infantile gags about flatulence, homosexuality and
how shall I put this? the ever-popular groin region.
When in doubt, the witty Wayans always know how to save a scene by penning such
snappy zingers as "Shut the #%*@ up, @#&"Œ!"
Gratuitous? You ain't heard nothin' yet.
Did I laugh? Yeah, I did, half a dozen times (most genuinely during the riotous
"Blair Witch" parody in which mucus runs profusely from the nose of Cheri Oteri, playing a hard-boiled TV newscaster talking to her video camera). Not a great percentage for a film with something close to 300 quote-unquote jokes.
Shawn, Marlon and Keenen Ivory Wayans would have been far better served if they
had just picked one thing they wanted to make fun of instead of aiming at
everything under the sun that irritates them. The formulaic slasher flick and the
overheated teen comedy were both ripe for plucking. They still are.
SCARY MOVIE (R, 85 minutes) Contains all manner of objectionable material
including (but not limited to) obscenity, drug use, violence, nudity and sex.