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Scary Movie 5 (2013) – Review

2 Stars


The Scary Movie franchise is now three films and 12 years past its expiration date. To reference this outing as the best since orignal creators, Keenan Ivory Wayans and Co. departed, is faint praise, but an accolade none-the-less. The inherent problem with the spoof genre is that most (if not all) the jokes are based on movies, events, pop-culture references and personalities of the moment. Giving the material a freshness that is current, but immediately dated in just a few months time. Essentially wiping out any lasting shelf-life to these low-grade wannabes, think of the staying power of The Naked Gun compared to Scary Movie 3 for example.

This, the fifth film in the long-running series, takes its cues from recent horror blockbusters, Paranormal Activity, Mama, Planet of the Apes, and half a dozen more. As per usual, it employees a throw everything onscreen and see what sticks approach. A couple of jokes score and the hard-working cast led by Tisdale and series vet Simon Rex, work hard. Ashley Tisdale is no Anna Ferris, but she is a skilled light-comedian with an appeal that comes across as a less aloof version of the late, Brittany Murphy. Who would have thought that director Malcolm D. Lee could generate more chuckles than noted genre ace David Zucker? However unlikely, that is the reality. Although, to be fair Zucker and frequent writing collaborator Pat Profit were responsible for the screenplay. At least Scary Movie 5 feels vibrant, the last two sequels were D.O.A .

Much of the promotional material, including trailers and television commercials have played up the appearance of troubled celebrities, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. Their five-minute pre-title sequences is moderately amusing, but the stars are gone for the rest of the film there-after. Posing a bait and switch for those audience members thinking that Scary Movie 5 features the pair in a leading role. Come to think of it, Scary Movie would be apt title for a documentary on either’s life. Is Scary Movie 5, the worst comedy of the year? No. That distinction still belongs to the wretched cash-grab, The Hangover Part III. It is a harmless time-killer, paling in comparison to the much funnier, A Haunted House. Which ironically was directed by the former creative forces behind Scary Movie 1&2, whew.

Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Stars: Simon Rex, Ashley Tisdale, Terry Crews