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The 100




Scary Movie 2
(2001)
Reviewed by Ned Daigle
Rating: 8 Beans

ou have to hand it to Hollywood execs. They just love sequels. And if you think about all of the sequels ever made, how many actually felt necessary? How many seemed like a true continuation of the story and not merely an excuse to seperate moviegoers from cash? Except for maybe "Star Wars" and "The Godfather", no movie really needs one. Some sequels aren't really bad films on their own, but the vast majority are at best negligible and at worst insulting. Case in point, the dreadful "Scary Movie 2".

The history behind "Scary Movie 2" is the oldest story in the book. Young filmmakers make a modestly entertaining movie. Movie becomes unexpectedly huge box-office hit. Smelling money in the air, studio brass demands a follow-up from said young filmmakers, and they demand it quick. Young filmmakers cobble together a sequel in record time to make the impossible release date. Movie opens. Movie whimpers and dies because everyone hates it. Lots of blame-gaming and finger-pointing ensues. End of story.

I could be talking about any number of movies. 2000 had the ill-fated "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2", and 2001 has "Scary Movie 2".

The original "Scary Movie" was a horror movie spoof, ripping on the "Scream" and "Last Summer" movies, from the minds of the Wayans Brothers. It was crass and crude, but it was also pretty damn funny. But it was self-contained. There wasn't a need for another one.

Anyway, "Scary Movie 2" follows many of the characters from the original as they engage in a haunted house spoof, taking on "The Haunting", "Poltergeist", "Amityville Horror" amongst others. The first thing audiences will notice is that several of the characters who died in the original are, like, not dead for this one. They have come back to life somehow without reason or explanation. You can almost smell the whiff of desperation.

The film's prologue sets the unfunny tone that the rest of the movie carries out with ruthless efficiency. We are given yet another "Exorcist" spoof, complete with urinated on carpet jokes, pea-soup vomit jokes and James Woods, as a priest, sitting on the toilet yelling "I cast thee out!" before dumping his cargo in disgustingly noisy fashion.

Tim Curry, who ought to be ashamed, stars as a college professor who enlists Cindy and the gang to spend a weekend in a haunted mansion. They include pot-head Shorty, sexually-ambiguous Ray, and homegirl Brenda, as you will remember Ray and Brenda kinda didn't make it through "Scary Movie" alive, however, their presence in part 2 isn't questioned. Joining the cast is Tori Spelling as a fellow student, David Cross as a wheelchair-bound assistant to Curry, and Chris Elliot as the deformed care-taker.

"Scary Movie 2" is just an endless, unfunny slog through haunted house cliches, and it took seven screenwriters to come up with it. Nothing about this movie works. From the bodily function humor, to the cheesy special-effects, to the student-theatre caliber set design.

The jokes just aren't there. Because there is simply a drought of usable material here, the Wayans decided to use the old "extend and repeat" formula for comedy which goes: If you repeat the same joke over and over again or stretch it out for a lengthy amount of time, it's bound to eventually become funny. Not so. Here are some bits that are repeated ad nauseum: a parrot that talks smack, Chris Elliot doing yucky things with his deformed hand, David Cross doing things in his wheelchair, Cindy getting punched, etc. Here are some bits that are extended by all reason: A supposedly funny bit goofing on pretentious Nike ads where the entire cast dribbles basketballs for what seems like a good 15 minutes, a catfight between Cindy and a possessed cat that goes on for at least 20 minutes, Chris Elliot attempting to serve dinner which also seems to go on and on. Like the worst of "Saturday Night Live", the Wayans didn't seem to realize that if the joke isn't funny in the first minute, it's not going to get any funnier if it goes on for 10.

I did laugh a couple times in "Scary Movie 2", but, sadly, it was during jokes that were lifted out of the original. Always a bad sign when the recycled jokes work better than the new ones.

"Scary Movie 2" is just a rush job, thrown together to appease the studio gods. It's hard to say who is really to blame, but it certainly is the audience that's getting punished for it.






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