Eric D. Snider

Scary Movie 2

There are seven writers credited for "Scary Movie 2." That's approximately two writers per laugh.

You should know that I enjoyed the first "Scary Movie" as an outrageous, fast-paced parody -- a MAD Magazine movie satire, but filthier. The sequel is not nearly as gross (but please don't take that to mean it's not still very, very crude), but also not nearly as pointed, funny or entertaining.

It's a fact that the movie was still being filmed a few weeks before its release, and it frankly reeks of a hurried schedule. It's sloppily edited, but worse, the jokes are rushed. This is the rough draft of a good movie, where the professor would say, "Here's a good set-up here, just add some jokes," or, "This scene is going nowhere, please cut it," or, "Do you realize this will be the one-millionth movie to feature a toilet-related joke?"

The basic plot parodies "The Haunting," with characters from the first movie (including some who died, as I recall) and a few new ones spending the weekend in a spooky house. It's part of an "experiment" conducted by a loathsome college professor named, um, "Professor." (I'm looking at the press notes right now, and that's his name. This is a major character, too, I might add.) He's played by Tim Curry. Everyone else is played by people like Anna Faris, Tori Spelling and a lot of Wayans brothers.

The first sequence is an "Exorcist" parody, which would surely have been quite topical in 1974. It's funny enough, as these things go, and it's not long before everyone present is awash in vomit, the priest (James Woods) is swearing, and the other priest (Andy Richter) is getting his lips stuck to a crucifix.

It gets no better than that. One horribly misguided scene has the group eating dinner at the haunted house, served by the deformed caretaker Mr. Hanson (Chris Elliott). The joke is that his hand is gross and nasty, and yet he keeps touching the food. And they keep making that SAME JOKE for about five minutes. It's exactly the sort of scene that would have been trimmed if they'd had more time to work on the film (and if it weren't only 82 minutes long as it is).

Those who were not fans of "Scary Movie" will despise this one even more. But even those who liked it are liable to be disappointed this time. It lacks the anarchic wit and wicked humor that made us laugh in spite of ourselves before. Now, instead of laughing, we moan: "Is that ANOTHER male organ joke? Oy."

Grade: D-

Rated R, frequent harsh profanity, abundant sexuality, crudeness, comic violence, drug use, etc., etc.

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