Though "Scary Movie 2" opens on the Fourth of July, the
picture does not give off much in the way of satiric fireworks.
With a script written by committee of seven, the film is more proof
that if two heads are better than one, se7en can kill a script better
than David Fincher can show humankind's depravity.
Given the studio's tagline, "The movie that dares you to come,"
can you expect the story to transcend the sophomoric?
Essentially a series of skits that provide a few laughs, "Scary
Movie 2" parodies several films, mostly of the horror genre, its
principal good being that it makes even "What Lies Beneath" look
like something made by Hitchcock. The Wayans brothers each
have a hand in getting flows of fluid from their characters from
every bodily orifice so that even the squeamish in the audience
cannot be blamed for wishing that blood--strangely absent from
this story--were to gush forth instead.
Keenen Ivory Wayans, who returns from the helm of the first
"Scary Movie," challenges his targeted teen audience to guess
which film is parodied in which scene, but it doesn't take a James
Agee to figure out when the energetic cast, helped quite a bit by
stunt people and the special effects technocrats, is spoofing "The
House on Haunted Hill," or "Poltergeist," "Charlie's Angels,"
"Mission Impossible 2," or "Hannibal."
The one promising scene occurs at the very beginning, taking
place within Hell House like the remaining sequences but
appearing to be part of a different movie. The accomplished
opener thrives mostly because of the presence of James Woods
in the role of Father McFeely, who together with Father Karris
(Andy Richter) has arrived to exorcise a fifteen-year-old--who has
shocked a group of party goers by demonstrating that she has
nothing in common with men plagued by benign prostatic
hypertrophy. The party goes downhill during a puke contest,
topped by Mr. Woods in his most vulgar bathroom scene ever.
>From then we're in the hands of a professor (Tim Curry) who has
maneuvered some coeds in his Psych. class to visit Hell House
for an experiment, promising an A to anyone who manages to
survive the course--a feat which is not at all guaranteed.
Featuring the most obvious sexual and bathroom humor,
"Scary Movie 2" shows us what happens when a randy instructor
assembles a motley group of blockheads, challenged within Hell
House by the ghost of Kane--a now-deceased man who had
murdered his mistress and seeks to abduct young Cindy (Anna
Faris) to be with him forever. Marlon Wayans once again
provides the bulk of the over-the-top raillery while Kathleen
Robertson contributes her well-equipped frame, Matthew
Friedman the voice of an obscene parrot, Chris Masterson his
nice-guy horniness and Chris Elliott his palsied hand.
Wheelchair bound Dwight (David Cross) allows the cast to make
politically incorrect gags about the handicapped. All in all, "Scary
Movie 2" is unamusing enough to make us appreciate the movies
Copyright © 2001 Harvey Karten