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Scary Movie

Posted: Sunday, September 17, 2000

Chris Jenness

I went to see Scary Movie a few months ago when it was released the first time. The next day I was talking about it at the of fice and one of my co-workers asked if I liked it. "Yeah, its really funny!" I replied. "Great," she said. "My kids really want to see it." Uh oh, I thought. That about sums it up.

With the whole teen slasher flick genre coming to a close, Miramax, who got it all started with Scream, hired the Wayans brothers to come up with a spoof. What resulted is the smash hit, Scary Movie. Originally titled Scream If You Know What I Did Last Halloween, this send-up is funny, biting, at times clever, and very, very raunchy. It seems like everyone is trying to one-up the Farrelly brothers these days, even the Farrelly brothers. In Me, Myself,and Irene, released early in the summer, we get to see defecating dogs, more masturbation humor, and even a chicken used as a proctological tool. However, and I hate to say it, Scary Movie has them beat, hands down. Scary Movie achieves new lows in gross-out humor I won't go into the particulars, because some of it is very funny, and l don't want to ruin the jokes. I will say, however, that this movie is definitely not for children.

The plot, as if it really makes any difference, revolves around a group of clueless high schoolers who accidentally kill a man and then end up being stalked by an equally clueless serial killer. Movie is directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans, and stars his brothers Marlon and Shawn, all veterans of Fox's In Living Color, leaving only Damon Wayans unaccounted for. The cast is rounded out by relative newcomers and unknowns, all of whom do a passable job, but a movie like this is not really about the acting. It's really about the writing and the script, as written by Shawn and Marlon Wayans, is full of references to both recent and classic films, some very clever, some not so clever. I usually rate these kind of movies on a gross-out to funny scale. For example, Dumb and Dumber (another Farrelly classic) rated as 15% stuff I really didn't want to see to 85% really, really funny. This movie was more like 40-60. 40% really disgusting, 60% funny. Some of it is funny in spite of your better judgement. At one point I found myself asking myself "Am I really laughing at brutal co-ed murder?"

I enjoyed Scary Movie, with reservations. Actually, the marketing of this movie is really it's main problem.

Most people, I think, assume they are going to see another Naked Gun-style spoof. I even expected Leslie Nielsen to show up. No where in the ads did they let you in on the truth of the picture. Lately, I have seen a few ads that are much more honest, although a little irresponsible, I think. They are of the American Pie brand of advertising, playing up "What we can't show you..." They still market these movies to teens, even though this is definitely a movie for adults. And what's wrong with having a movie just for adults? Do the studios think that if they warn parents not to take the kids that the movie will be perceived as porn? I wish someone had warned the people who sat in front of me with the three kids under six. I was more uncomfortable knowing they were being subjected to the subject matter than I was with any of the raunchy jokes. The movie is funny; it's well made, so why can't the studios trust themselves to be able to make money just off of one certain market? I don't support the idea of regulating Hollywood, and I don't subscribe to the notion that violence and sex in movies are to blame for all our ills, but it does make me mad when there is a case as black and white as this one is. This movie is flat-out not for kids, and yet they target kids in all the ads. The movie studios need to watch out; look what happened to Joe Camel.

Scary Movie is rated R for sexual situations, language, violence, and extremely crude humor. Grade: B-



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