13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
MOVIE: The Scary Movie franchise has been a huge money maker ever since the Wayans brothers started it. David Zucker took over the series after the Wayans left and made Scary Movie 3. He returns to the series with Scary Movie 4, and while it misses the mark it still is pretty enjoyable. For those who don't know David Zucker, he is the king of spoofs. He made Airplane, The Naked Gun series, Top Secret, and other great spoofs. He consistantly works with Jim Abrahams and Pat Proft, who have brought us other great spoofs such as Hot Shots, Wrongfully Accused, Jane Austen's Mafia, and others. His brother Jerry Zucker who has done a few serious movies is also the man behind Rat Race. So between these guys we have some hilarious and brilliant movie spoofs. Scary Movie is the perfect franchise for these guys, but in a way it's too much for them to handle. What makes a spoof work is all about the timing, the jokes have to be placed in the right places and have to hit at the right moment. Scary Movie 3 was really funny because it had somewhat of a plot. This movie is just joke after joke, with no plot at all. Sure, you don't see these movies for the plot, but in order to have a spoof you need one. The problem with these movies is that they tackle every single film in the genre, while previous spoof movies they made focused on one movie alone. Hot Shots spoofed Top Gun, the second Hot Shots spoofed Rambo, Airplane spoofed Airport, Wrongfully Accused spoofed The Fugitive, Naked Gun spoofed police dramas, and Mafia spoofed The Godfather and Casino. All those movies were very focused. With Scary Movie 4 we jump from tons of different horror movies, some not even horror. This particular installment sends up Brokeback Mountain, Million Dollar Baby, Saw, War Of The Worlds, The Grudge, and a bunch of pop culture thrown into the mix. There are a few jokes that hit the right spot, but it feels disorganized, and when that happens things aren't funny. Comedy is the hardest thing to write, but I've come to expect more from these veterans. Good for a laugh, but will never stand with the other great spoofs they have done. This Scary Movie rarely hits the mark when it needs to, not as sharp as the last one.
ACTING: Anna Faris continues her role as Cindy Campbell and she is just perfect for the role. By taking everything seriously she makes the jokes work. We lose Charlie Sheen as a main character, which is a shame (even though he's in here as a cameo). Charlie Sheen was the funniest part of Scary Movie 3, instead we have Tom Ryan played by Craig Bierko. His Tom Cruise impersonation is spot on, and he's pretty good. There are plenty of cameos for the whole family, one of which is Bill Pullman. I found it incredibly hilarious that he is in this movie spoofing The Grude since he was actually in The Grudge. Of course you have Leslie Nielson, who is probably one of the greatest comedic actors ever. The whole cast is great, but the film's structure doesn't allow them to really be funny.
BOTTOM LINE: The movie is funny, you will laugh. You won't laugh as much or as hard as you did with the previous Scary Movies, but still it's funny. The crazy plot is where the problem lies, and that results in bad timing for the jokes. It's not as clever as it should be considering it comes from Zucker and Abrahams.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2006
Sigh... Here's more of the same.
You can pretty much trust the critics' reviews on this one. I know movies like this aren't made to get critical raves, and in that sense they are critic-proof. I like stupid comedies (as long as they are genuinely funny and clever - not just stupid), especially of the screwball "Naked Gun" mold and, even more so, of the raunchy original "Scary Movie" type. I may be embarrassed to try and defend a movie like "Scary Movie" but I'd be a liar to say I didn't love it. So, in that sense, if any "name" critic were to tell me "Scary Movie 4" is a stupid, bad movie, how do I know I can trust them?
Not that they are always wrong about these movies ("Scary Movie 2" was dreadfully lazy, unfunny and, basically, awful), but I figure I have to judge for myself. Every once in a while I'm glad I did. Usually though, I know what I'm getting into and just keeping my fingers crossed for a surprise.
Not surprisingly, "Scary Movie 4" is not that movie.
Sure it's better than "2," and there are several funny moments, probably enough to make it worth a rental, but they are forgotten almost as soon as you leave the theatre. 0f what I remember, Leslie Nielsen has the best moments over all, proving he's still got it with his hilarious dead-pan, oblivious looks and dialog-deliveries; he's as good as he ever was. Too bad there wasn't more of him here (he is essentially a cameo). And the "War of the Worlds" spoof stuff was funny for a while, especially to me because I didn't much care for that movie (it already felt like a spoof of Sci-Fi flicks with its dumb logic, dumb dialog and cheesy performances). Here, one of the best gags involves the Tri-Ipods (ho, ho) attacking the city and, as in "WOTW," none of the transportation devices work; this includes bikes and skateboards (of course, Spielberg already spoofed himself in his own movie by allowing a camcorder to work while every other electronic device - from cars to wristwatches - shut down; but I digress). That scene is fairly early on in the film and, come to think of it, that's where most of the comic gems are.
The movie starts out well, hitting most of its targets in a quick, random fashion. None of it is great, but it works well enough to earn a few real laughs: The "Saw" stuff with Shaq and Dr. Phil, the scene with Charlie Sheen, Cindy's new office, her gleefully absurd flashback to her first marriage, Anthony Anderson and his "pal" in a bar riffing on the phrase "turn up missing" (how can you turn up and be missing at the same time?), almost everything right up until the actual shape of the story begins to take place, which ultimately becomes just one big spoof of "War of the Worlds," with a "The Village" segue thrown in the middle for no real reason (although here, Carmen Electra earns some laughs in fearless cameo); in the same way as "Scary Movie 2" degenerated into a one-joke spoof of "The Haunting" - another originally bad movie that needed no spoof in order for us to laugh at it.
The "Scary Movie" franchise started with a truly audacious, hardcore comedy original. Not for kids, it earned its hard-R rating (originally it got an NC-17), but it worked. You laughed at not only the gags, but out of embarrassment for laughing at them, and the Wayans Brothers sheer audacity to put some of that stuff up on the screen. It wasn't brilliant, but it was brilliantly vile and unexpectedly hilarious. It caught everyone off guard; no one expecting the movie to go that far and, in turn, be that screamingly funny. And it was a different, original stab at the genre (spoofs were generally all done in the PG-13 "Hot Shots!" vein). It became a deserved huge hit. So the Wayans delivered a sequel that just continued to milk the same well until it was dry (#2 did half the box-office of the original and was hissed at by both critics and fans). Wisely the Wayans bowed out, but the movies were turned over to David Zucker, a great director who gave us "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun" just to name a few. Zucker makes funny movies, but he makes far different movies (precisely the kind the Wayans brothers were trying to top with the original). The rating dropped to PG-13 and the franchise was now safe for pre-teens. "Scary Movie 3" was better than 2, but only because it couldn't be any worse. Just as in this latest entry, 3 had scattered scenes that scored laughs, but had far too many obvious, predictable and lazy targets. It hit 'em, but none too thrillingly. All the pizzazz of the original was gone and the series had turned into just another spoof franchise that does not stand out amongst any of its type. Zucker is a competent director but he gave up being exciting a long time ago. With "Scary Movie 3," this year's equally bland hit-and-(far more) miss "Date Movie" and now "Scary Movie 4," he has done some of the laziest work of his career.
Want proof? Look at some of the other reviews on this site. The big raves come from teens who, probably were so young, they weren't allowed to see the first movie when it came out; not that it would have mattered much because that also means that they were in preschool when "Scream" and all the other movies the original spoofed came out. But that's okay because that is now who this franchise is for. For them, it is harmless fun - just ask the 20 or so kids who were dying with laughter at the screening I attended this afternoon. And for all the people who like broad, slapstick style comedy rather than a boundary-pusher, and are not very discriminating (ie, as long as you get the references and there is plenty of potty humor), you may enjoy this. But I have to believe it can be done better than this. I have seen it done better than this. And admit it, so have you.
It's a testimate to Zucker's talent that these films, bland as they are, are still watchable and manage to score some laughs. I'll be first in line when he decides to return to form. (I'm not even asking for the highs of "Airplane!" or "The Naked Gun," I'd be happy with something along the lines of "Baseketball" or "Top Secret!" again.)
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2006
For all of you purists out there who insist, year after year, that all movie franchises be put out of their misery I present to you the Scary Movie series. After a ho hum first go round and a disastrous second try the series suddenly got. . .well. . Good. 3 was worth the price of admission and so is 4. Not all sequels are stale, and once is a blue moon they get better as they go along. Anna Farris once again plays the dumbest girl ever to be trapped in a Hollywood hall of mirrors. This particular film follows the basic plot of "War of the Worlds" with lots of sidetracking along the way. The Scary Movies have been used as an indictment against the cinema and the culture of the time. So in this installment we get an infestation of creepy looking Asian kids with bad complexions and Dr. Phil. I was a big fan of "War of the Worlds" so I honestly believe that "Scary Movie 4" could have been improved by going with a crappier movie (say "Van Helsing") but I'll happily look upon it as a tribute as opposed to a slap in the face. After playing around with "War of the Worlds" and "Ring Two" for a while the Tripods finally attacks and our heroes are driven into a certain "Village" where the film stalls and nearly sinks.
Luckily the final third is hilarious and saves everything that came before it. I laughed the hardest at the split second Chingy cameo which was comedic gold. From there it rolls into a "Saw II" parody which delivers big time on the belly laughs. The best scene overall, however, takes place early on and is a vicious take on "Million Dollar Baby." Their version re-imagines the fateful fight with Mike Tyson playing an ear chomping, muscle bound female whose rear end sets off a stinging string of neck snappings. I also liked the way that the actors themselves were lampooned by the director, David Zucker. Shaq's inability to hit free throws and Charlie Sheen's inability to control his male urges are both used as fodder. Also, when a less than attractive woman reports to the President (played by Leslie Nielsen) that she was not one of those stripped naked by the aliens he replies by saying, "Finally, some good news."
The strategy employed by those who make these films is to take a million jokes and throw them against the screen. The audience can take what they want and leave what they want. None of the jokes could really be considered obscure so there is little danger in going over the audiences head. You will have to put up with the usual animated violence and bathroom humor, and until this genre sheds that skin they will be just as cliched as the cliche riddled films they are ridiculing. At the very end we get a near perfect take on the water cooler moment of the past few years: Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch. The scene is outrageous and stupid, but also funny, and that is all that matters. I once had a friend tell me that the couch jumping scared her (which in turn scared me that somebody could be scared so easily). But what she doesn't understand is that without that extreme moment of glee from Cruise we wouldn't be able to laugh ourselves senseless over it, now that's scary. ***1/4
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
First off, I have to mention how excited I was to see the 4th film of scary movie!!!! I was looking forward to seeing it, but I have to say- at the end of the movie I found myself feeling slightly disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it's an OK film, but it sadly lacked the comedy of the other 3 films. I was very pleased to see Brenda back; however, not even she could bring this up to the standards of the others.
It felt as if each scene was rushed and just randomly placed together- for some reason, it didn't all seem to fit well with each other, it was like "OK, we've done one spoof- quickly we have to do the next one" and everything seems so rushed and unfinished.
Two good aspects of this movie are the USE of parody and cameos. The parodies are done so well that you can keep track even if you haven't watched the 'original' movies yet. And the makers of this movie aren't too shy having half their cast existing out of cameos. In most movies this would fail, but for Scary Movie it does the trick. Scary Movie guarantees lots of familiar faces from movies, sports, and music industry.
Some actors, who haven't had the most success in recent years, like Leslie Nielsen for example, are enjoyable in this movie. They show that with a good direction they are still funny and capable of doing comedies. The writers and producers need to ensure that the next movie (if there is to be another) is not rushed, and endeavour to produce a film that is as funny as the original and its 2 sequels. If they fail, the Scary Movie franchise may end up a parody of that other great such as Police Academy.
Scary Movie 4 marks itself as a decent comedy. There were some funny moments in here that save it from complete boredom. This movie will help you pass a few hours and serves up some slight laughs every now and then.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Scary Movie has always been a series that's easy to criticise. The first one basically took the plot and, at times, the dialogue from Scream and made a parody of it. However, created by the Wayan family, it was generally funny. The sequel wasn't quite as good. When Zucker came along for the third one, the whole tone and feeling for the movie changed. It became an Airplane! or Hot Shots movie, rated at PG-13. Great for marketing, but for those of us who want more than pratfalls, it fell a bit short.
So now we have Scary Movie 4. I really liked some of the movies they were lampooning so I figured I would get at least some enjoyment out of it. There are maybe three truly inspired scenes in the movie. By far the best is Leslie Nielson's scene as the president being read to by elementary children. That scene is priceless. The opening scene involving the first Saw was also quite humorous. Also, some of the sequences involving The Grudge at the beginning were humorous as well.
For me, there were two large problems. The first is that the movie felt like a bunch of skits, loosely tied together with a semblance of a plot. What worked structurally for the first two scary movies was that they mostly had one movie as their basis. Scary Movie 4 felt as if they were trying to lampoon everything and it became really disjointed. I hate to use this example because it's been used in countless reviews, but if the shoe fits...the movie felt like a Saturday Night Live episode with skits of varying humor. Didn't feel like a movie.
The other problem was that Zucker doesn't know when to stop a joke. An instance is when Tom Ryan shoots the gun into the sky and a hang-glider crashes and says "Why?" It was a very funny non sequitar. Then, it gets smashed into the ground as he is then shot with a crossbow as he's getting up. Similar jokes abound and then are pushed into the ground to the point that they aren't funny anymore.
In the end, Scary Movie 4 felt a lot longer than the supposed 83 minutes time. It was a better effort than the third movie, however the reliance on pratfalls and [...] jokes and jokes that had been done many times before in he 80s when these types of movies reigned holds it back. Instead of making a comment on the horror films of today, Zucker is more interested in having Dr. Phill hit over the head three times with various lamps and pipes. Funny in small doses, as a feature film I was disappointed.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
It's hard to believe that the Zucker Brothers have been consistently making us laugh since the 70's with their writing/directing initially with the KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE, then beginning their long-time (brilliant) collaboration with Leslie Nielsen in AIRPLANE (& II.), later with the POLICE SQUAD series and NAKED GUN film versions. The SCARY MOVIE franchise (named after the real working title for SCREAM) delivers the same MAD Magazine-style spoof , again and again. Now proving how successful this horror-satire genre is by exceeding the 3-film mark, this one maybe the best of the lot (so far).
David Zucker directs this one with story by Craig Mazin, who co-wrote on previous films.Although conspicuously absent are Shawn and Marlon Wayans (as writers and characters), but on the plus side, Leslie Nielsen returns as President Harris, Y-E-S! (Don't spell in front of me!) Other returning survivor/regulars are: Anna Faris (Cindy), Regina Hall (Brenda), Simon Rex (George) and Anthony Anderson (Mahalik). What would a Zucker film be without the parade of star/celebrity cameos like: Dr. PHIL & SHAQ! Also Bill Pullman, Carmen Electra, Chingy (formerly of Ludacris' group) and Charlie Sheen ( back as Tom)
Lovable, dim-witted Cindy Campbell returns having taken on a new job of house keeping. Cindy and her ego-centric, sex-crazed pal Brenda soon find a little boy had died and to learn why they once again go on a journey so twisted, that giant, alien Tri-pods are involved. They are join by Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko), the cute & clueless neighbor.
This one spoofs: WAR of the WORLDS, SAW 1 and 2, The VILLAGE, The GRUDGE and an extreme take on Tom Cruise's Oprah antics ( I can't begin describe how funny and deserved that mock up was) The whole movie was classic, dim-witted and laugh-out-loud hilarious. You can't go wrong with "the Zucker mark" and this one's got it!I look forward to their next project SUPERHERO! That one will be just in time to spoof the upcoming Superman release.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2006
I was really excited to see this film in theatres when it came out. I love spoofs and parodies, and the Scary Movie films are my favorite...but I must say I was disappointed.
Scary Movie 4 spoofed several films, among them: War of the Worlds, Saw, The Village, The Grudge, Brokeback Mountain, Million Dollar Baby, Dr. Phil, and many more.
I was disappointed in this film mainly due to...the writing. The film didn't have a good flow, and the scenes seemed to be too jumbled together. The movie also seemed like it was a little forced. Although there has been a recent upswing in the Horror movie trend, which should provide plenty of extra material for the Scary Movie franchise to parody...it still seemed as if they were scraping the bottom of the barrel.
I didn't like how "War of the Worlds" was the main "storyline" the film follows. I kind of feel like they've already done the 'alien invasion' thing when they spoofed "Signs" in Scary Movie 3. They probably should have gone a different route, but they didn't.
The unrated DVD edition does have some fun features. It contains director commentary, deleted/extended scenes, a blooper reel, and numerous behind-the-scenes type featurettes. These are all great things to have on a DVD disc, but they don't necessarily save the film from falling short of it's predecessors.
All in all, the film was mildly entertaining, but did not live up to the standards that Scary Movies 1 & 2 set. The first two are still by *far* the best two.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2006
I like the first three to Scary Movie but 4 is not funny at all. I wasted my good money to see this. If you really want to see it bad do not see it in the cinema and don't waste money to rent it on DVD either. Wait till it comes out on cable. I can't believe some people actually enjoyed this movie. It's just the worst movie I have ever seen. I hope RV is not stupid like this. I'm planning on seeing that tomorrow. Just don't see Scary Movie 4 it's dumb.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2010
*NOTE* This review is for the UNRATED version ONLY.
First thoughts...Ummmmm I'm not sure about this one. It's still kind of funny in some scenes but it lacks the quality of the first two. Here's the breakdown.
1. Directing--The directing from David Zucker is just okay. I personally preferred Keenen Ivory Wayans who directed the first two.
2. Script--Face it, the script sucked. It's not very funny, and sometimes it's just plain stupid. Yeah, some of it is okay, but that's it. It's just okay, unlike the first two, which were excellent.
3. Acting--This is something that has never improved in the Scary Movie series. It's just okay. You've still got Anna Faris and the late Leslie Neilsen.
Now for the content review.
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor throughout, some comic violence and language/UNRATED.
1. Sex/Nudity=5/10. There are still a lot of sexual jokes, but they're not funny, unlike the first two.
2. Violence/Gore=2/10. There is some violence, but it's played for laughs.
3. Language=6/10. It's far different from the first two. 2 F-words and other profanities.
Final thoughts...Overall 3/5. I'm not a big fan of this movie. There are maybe ONE or TWO funny parts unlike the first two, which had you laughing throughout the entire movie. I personally think that it would have been better if it had an "R" rating but the people who made it were trying to reach a younger audience, which I think is pretty stupid. But, anyways, stick to the first two, they're worth watching, unlike this one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2006
Acting----------------2 out of 10, Anna Faris needs to stop making these, she can act!!!
Directing-------------1 out of 10, The Zucker and Co. tank is empty
Location/Scenery------3 out of 10, Movie is so bad, who cares
Comedy Rating---------1 out of 10, Hard to laugh at something I've seen 20 times before
Quality---------------3 out of 10, Rushed to make it for $$$$
Total Score---------10 out of 50, Grade D-
Violence---------Medium, Mostly comical, even gross
Blood/Gore-------Medium, See above
Nudity-----------Medium, Lots of cleavage, nothing sexy though
Language---------High, Wayans Love to push that PG-13 envelope
Overall, Teens 14 and over should be fine, and so sad, but kids 10 thru 16 are gonna make this huge on DVD
You talk about a series that has run out of steam. I did not laugh once during this terrible movie. I didn't think I'd see anything as unfunny as Scary Movie 3, but boy was I wrong. First of all, you can see these jokes coming a mile away, and then you hear them delivered with no feeling or emotion at all. It's as if the actors knew this wasn't funny and just wanted there paycheck. This will be ranked #3 in my top 10 worst of 2006.......so far!!!