Sunday, 8 September 2013

Scary Movie 4 (2006)

It may not be quite as good as the preceding instalment, but Scary Movie 4 is a surprisingly good comedy, thanks mainly to the material being enjoyably childish as opposed to the irritating crudeness of the first two movies in the series.

This time around the series pokes fun at the Saw franchise, War Of The Worlds, The Grudge and The Village, among other targets. Anna Faris and Regina Hall both return as Cindy and Brenda, respectively, and Simon Rex, Charlie Sheen, Anthony Anderson and Kevin Hart briefly reprise their roles from the third movie, but this isn't overly concerned with maintaining any perfect continuity. It's just another opportunity to take characters that audiences seem to like and drop them into some outrageous situations.

The main new addition to the cast is Craig Bierko, playing Tom, the everyman hero based on the character played by Tom Cruise in War Of The Worlds (and, in some latter scenes, simply based on Tom Cruise in real life). When an alien invasion upsets everyone's day, Tom tries to protect his son and daughter while also assuring Cindy that they will find each other after they have both done what they have to do. Cindy, you see, is also busy trying to figure out why she keeps seeing the ghost of a small, Japanese boy and what exactly he may be trying to tell her.

The best thing to happen to the Scary Movie series is David Zucker taking over the directorial duties (well, that was the best thing to happen until the dire Scary Movie V) and this shows, once again, just how much fun he can wring out of potentially groan-inducing stuff. The script, by Craig Mazin, Pat Proft and Jim Abrahams, isn't exactly the sharpest or smartest, but Zucker puts together a fun cast and does well with budget. This isn't a movie that looks cheap, although it's worth noting that it doesn't make the mistake of looking too polished either.

The cast is a huge plus point, as it was in Scary Movie 3, with those involved including, but not limited to, Bill Pullman, Leslie Nielsen (reprising his role as the inept POTUS), Molly Shannon, Carmen Electra, Phil McGraw AKA Dr. Phil, Shaquille O'Neal, Michael Madsen, Chris Elliott (almost, but not quite, as annoying as he was in Scary Movie 2) and Cloris Leachman. Plus those already mentioned above.

If you've seen, and enjoyed, the other movies then there's no reason for you not to be pleased by this one. It's just a shame that the next film, released seven years later, was such a massive drop in quality. Viewers should stop at this one. In fact, I implore you to do so. For your own mental wellbeing.


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