Scary Movie 3 (2003) / Comedy-Horror

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for pervasive crude and sexual humor, language, violence and drug references (I would have given it an R rating)
Running Time: 90 min.

Cast: Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Simon Rex, Drew Mikuska, Regina Hall, Camryn Manheim, Anthony Anderson, Leslie Nielsen, Jeremy Piven
Director: David Zucker
Screenplay: Craig Mazin, Pat Proft
Review published October 21, 2003

I suppose the biggest question on everyone's mind when hearing about Scary Movie 3 was, "Why?"  Looking at the gross receipts for Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2, which pulled in a combined $225 million at the box office, should be a good enough reason. However, Scary Movie 2 was greeted with poor reviews, even among the biggest fans, as they spoofed horror films that were so old, and satirized so many times, that the Wayans clearly could be seen as running out of gas comedically, having shot their wad the first time around.  Still, Miramax cleared a profit, and with the Wayans out of the picture, and new blood in screwball comedy veterans David Zucker (Airplane!, Naked Gun), and writer Pat Proft (Police Academy, Hot Shots) joining the show, there is a glimmer of hope that Scary Movie 3 would rebound a lucrative series for the studio.

Unlike SM2, SM3 sticks almost exclusively to popular films of the past year, with the only notable "scary" movies lampooned being the biggest hits of them all, The Ring and Signs.  Obviously, two movies aren't really enough to make a whole movie out of, so the creative forces threw in other recent, popular, non-scary flicks like The Matrix Reloaded, 8 Mile, and some television and celebrity knock-offs as well.  Some may not like the fact that such standard films would be included in a film that supposedly makes fun of horror films, but those people probably aren't remembering the precedent set in the first Scary Movie, which featured take-offs on The Matrix, The Fugitive, and The Usual Suspects, to name a few.

There are only two returning cast members (that I can recall anyway) from the first two films, Cindy, now a television news anchor, and Brenda, schoolteacher to Cindy's prescient son.  As part of her job, Cindy investigates mysterious crop circles (a la Signs) and the mysterious deaths cause by a strange videotape (a la The Ring.)  Note, I hesitate to mention anymore of the plotline, mostly because it doesn't really have one except when necessary in targeting another movie or celebrity to satirize.

Although it definitely could have been much better, crisper, and funnier, I'm going to give Scary Movie 3 the most modest of recommendations for making me laugh and holding my interest for the short duration.  While it probably fails more than it succeeds, there are so many jokes thrown in, that I found myself laughing at intervals that weren't too long that boredom set in.  Looking back, I am somewhat embarrassed at the jokes I found amusing, mostly low-brow sex or bodily function gags, and I am going to say it's a safe bet that if you strongly dislike crude humor, you are going to dislike the movie as a whole.  Also, don't let the PG-13 fool you.  It may not be nearly as raunchy as the first two films (which should have been NC-17, by my standards), there is enough bad language, sexual humor (with some pedophilia reference in particularly bad taste), and lots and lots of very violent, physical sight gags, that Miramax was extremely fortunate to get the MPAA to go along with a PG-13 rating, (obviously asleep at the wheel again!)

Comedy is in the funny bone of the beholder, as I always say, so your mileage is certainly going to vary.  For every person that thinks this to be a laugh riot, there's going to be another who finds it to be the most unfunny and distasteful comedy since...well, Scary Movie 2, most likely.  A personal anecdote: I dragged a friend along who was deeply upset at the level of poor humor and ugly, violent (and yes, scary) images that it left her emotionally distraught by the end... (I am going to be apologizing to her for a long time to come.)  If you are known to have a very juvenile sense of humor, like myself, chances are you will get your laughs.  Those with more refined tastes should seek more worthwhile entertainment elsewhere.

-- Followed by Scary Movie 4

 Qwipster's rating:

2003 Vince Leo