Scary Movie 3
starring Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen and Leslie Nielsen
2 1/2 stars

review by Stephen Notley

Well, I hope you've seen The Ring, Signs, 8 Mile and The Matrix, because if you haven't there's zero point in seeing Scary Movie 3.

Not that there's a ton of point in seeing it in any case. Scary Movie 3 flails around in the Scary Movie way, tossing up gags and assorted parody bits with limited success. These films are movie parodies for people who are incapable of making their own jokes while watching a movie; if you get a giggle out of making fun of movies like The Ring and Signs, then you've already probably made better jokes than most you'd find in SM3. 

The difference this time around is that the Wayan brothers (Keenan Ivory, Shawn, and Marlon) are out while David Zucker (producer of the Airplane and Naked Gun movies) is in. Zucker's always been about rat-a-tat joke delivery and overwhelming the audience with so many jokes it can't help but laugh, while the Wayans were proud standard-bearers of the New Crass, with a lot of sleazy and sometimes porno-violent horror-comedy stuff.
Scary Movie 3 comes off as a fusion of the two styles, or maybes a transitional form; perhaps Scary Movie 4 will be a totally Zucker-style jokefest.

At any rate, the first part of the movie feels very Wayans, with Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Anderson making dumb blonde and breast enhancement jokes before getting fried a la The Ring. There was a Zucker-style sight gag early on that made me laugh --water flowing from under the door and pouring off the doorknob-- but at the same time I never imagined that my appetite for cheeseball boobie jokes could be satisfied, exceeded and completely burnt out within 6 minutes of the start of a movie. Nonetheless it happened.

Scary Movie 3 isn't much of scary movie parody anymore; now it's a Mad-Magazine-style digest of parodies of the last year of movies. Combining The Ring and Signs is tenuous enough, but the only rationale for including 8 Mile seems to be to allow for the presence of some niggaz and homiez yo yo who otherwise would have no place in a Ring/Signs-based storyline. And Matrix stuff. Gotta throw in some Matrix stuff.

Few of the jokes really ever rise above, but there are some snorts. The easiest way to make fun of something scary is to beat it up and kick it down some stairs, so Scary Movie frequently erupts into person-on-monster punching matches, with the icky Ring-girl ghost taking the brunt of the punishment. Leslie Nielsen pops up late in the game as the President to cement the Zucker transformation, Jeremy Piven does a pretty hilarious teleprompter reading, and Michael Jackson gets beaten up. George Carlin gets a snicker or two in his version of the Architect scene from the Matrix, and  Charlie Sheen is in there, surprisingly straight and therefore hilarious as the Mel Gibson character from Signs, though for some reason he gets a quarter the screen time of some dude named Simon Rex, an unfunny doofus who plays Eminem from 8 Mile/the ex-boyfriend from The Ring/Mel Gibson's brother from Signs.

So, some funny stuff. But, by the same token, lots and lots of stuff that isn't funny as well. Is it worth it? Certainly not if you haven't seen School of Rock yet, that's for sure.