Saturday, March 15, 2014

Scary Movie

3… 2… 1… RAUNCH!

We finished filming this week on the big slaughterhouse ballet that's the centerpiece of my epic new musical movie spectacular, Slaughterhouse Live!, based on Upton Sinclair’s classic novel, The Jungle. Working with the cows was quite trying. One of them, at least, was always off beat or a quarter tone flat. This is supposed to be a major production, but I have a feeling that not all of those steers had proper vocal training, much less their SAG cards. At least we weren’t working with pigs, as when I made that musical version of Animal Farm some years ago – For those of you with short memories, I played Muriel, the goat.

I was therefore able to wing my way back home to Chateau Maine and my darling Norman. He was feeling a little under the weather with some tummy trouble so I advised him to stick to Ginger Ale; unfortunately, he seemed to have only heard the 'Ale' part of my generous tip and, several cases of 40 ounce malt liquor bottles later, he was very much in the mood for a movie with gratuitous fart jokes. Therefore, off we went in dipsomaniacal splendor to our local cineplex to see the new offering from the Wayans brothers, Scary Movie . I had hoped for a creepy little horror flick, but this turned out to be one of those mile a minute wacky comedies that usually stars Leslie Nielsen.

Scary Movie comes from Dimension Films, a company that we are not supposed to recognize as being a subsidiary of Miramax. In a brilliant blast of cross marketing, a Miramax specialty, the film takes on the Kevin Williamson franchises Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, also Dimension productions, as its major sources of inspiration. A passing familiarity with these crowd pleasers is useful to understand the full range of the satire and make sense of what little plot there is, but is not necessary to understand the jokes, most of which are about portions of the anatomy and various body fluids. As the original movies are already semi-satirical, the film ends up spoofing a spoof, which is a thin line to tread. Just ask those who have tried to parody daytime drama. The end results are hit and miss as the Wayans boys and their writers have clearly never met a dirty joke they didn't like.

The wispy plot, standard teens in trouble from a mad killer, is strictly an excuse to cobble together jokes and take on set pieces from the earlier movies. The writing is sophomoric. The acting nearly non-existent and the end result is intermittently funny as hell and has a lot more belly laughs than it should. This is strictly a movie for those in an adolescent frame of mind who wish to check their brain and be entertained with outlandish and gross sight gags. Many of the better jokes may not land with some audiences, as there’s a fairly high quotient of gay humor and gay oriented material that's going to whiz right over their heads. It’s also the first mainstream film I can remember that gets away with showing an erect penis and a glory hole in use.

The performances, mainly by non-entities, are all over the map but most of them have their moments. Anna Faris, as the Neve Campbell good girl, holds the whole thing together fairly well by taking her part seriously enough to have a character, but not so seriously as to not have a good time. Dave Sheridan, doing a sly take on David Arquette, has many of the best moments. Starlet of the moment, Shannon Elizabeth, has taken one too many classes at the Denise Richards school of acting but has a brief moment of glory as a beauty queen.

I was later able to obtain the DVD of this film for another perusal at home. The DVD contains the original film in widescreen with a good sound mix. There are a number of cut scenes, some of which are quite funny, especially a bit more of Cheri Oteri in the Courtney Cox, bitch reporter part. There is the usual HBO type ‘making of’ short, and the ability to read the screenplay through DVD-ROM.

Vacuum sex. Gratuitous body parts. Bloody saline implant. Polaroid penis photo. Decapitation. Gratuitous James Vanderbeek. Even more gratuitous Gwyneth Paltrow. Grannie abuse. Fish tank bong. Gratuitous Matrix-style kung fu.

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