|Scary Movie 3.5 (Special Unrated Version)|
|Written by Paul Lingas|
|Tuesday, 20 September 2005|
What we can hope is, but probably is not, the last in this constantly weakening franchise, “Scary Movie 3.5” is supposed to be an uncut version of “Scary Movie 3.” The problem is that the film is still so short (the credits roll after 76 minutes) that it is hard to believe that anything was added to the theatrical release. Taking into account the fact that there are almost 50 minutes of deleted scenes and alternate endings, I struggle to understand how this movie ended up being so short. Maybe it’s because it’s so bad and lacks any real humor, except perhaps at the lowest common denominator, but even then I did not laugh once, not once.
Anna Faris returns once again as Cindy Campbell, the constantly breathless heroine from the first two installments of the franchise. While the Wayans brothers had creative control over the first two, here David Zucker of “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” fame takes over the helm. You know, I never really realized how much I would miss those Wayans pot jokes. Anyway, Cindy is now a reporter who has been charged with finding the connection between a mysterious videotape that kills, ala “The Ring,” and mysterious crop circles that have appeared in the farm of Tom (Charlie Sheen) and George (Simon Rex), ala “Signs.” George is a struggling rapper and he travels to the big city to participate in a rap contest, just like in “8 Mile.” Here we’re presented with one of many cameos, as “American Idol’s” Simon Cowell makes an appearance as a judge. Cindy and George run into each other and an old flame is rekindled. Unfortunately, Cindy’s nephew has seen the killer videotape and there is a race against time to find the connection between invading aliens and the tape. There’s little point in trying to recap what else happens. Suffice to say that there are a myriad of cameos and this, along with the overall nature of trying to spoof so many movies and have some sort of coherent script, results in no coherence whatsoever.
This spoof is a mess. Though two of the movies satirized are at times scary, the film also spoofs “The Matrix” and “The Matrix: Reloaded.” The filmmakers seem to have run out of scary movies to parody, so instead they work on anything in pop culture that has come out recently. The funniest aspect of the first two installments was that they were spoofing a particular genre. Here everything is spoofed, but there is no consistency to what we are going to see. Faris does her usual thing and many of the others fill in their roles nicely, especially Sheen, who cut his parody chops in “Hot Shots.”
The deleted/extended scenes, taken together with the alternate ending, comprise over 50 minutes of footage. Considering that the actual film itself tops out at around 80 minutes, it seems that there are almost two movies here, or one really short one with a lot of stuff that didn’t make it. I really don’t understand why more of the deleted scenes weren’t included. It’s not as if they would have ruined what is already a bad movie that is essentially comprised of a bunch of loosely interconnected scenes. However, because there are so many extra scenes, it makes the bonus features much more interesting. Too bad the bonus materials are better than the movie itself.
What really blows my mind is the 15-minute featurette about the alternate ending. I suppose it’s cool that this is included, but at the same time, one has to wonder why they are paying so much attention to a 20-minute chunk of the movie that didn’t even make it to the final cut. If it wasn’t good enough to be used, sure, I’ll watch it, but do I have to see how it was made? I think … no.
The “Making Scary Movie 3.5” featurette comes in at over 35 minutes and covers almost every aspect of production that you could possibly want to know, including the correct pronunciation of Anna Faris’ first name. Behind-the-scenes footage abounds here, as well as interviews with the director, producer and many of the actors. “Making Scary Movie 3.5 For Real” is itself a spoof of a featurette, where everyone takes turns ripping on the director. Thankfully, this segment doesn’t last very long.
The feature commentary consists of the director, producer and two of the writers. This ends up being little more than a mutual admiration society, where the only good information provided is exactly what was cut out in the theatrical version. It turns out there a few “feline” jokes that had to be cut in order for the film to keep its PG-13 status. It boggles the mind that four of the top creative minds involved in the movie can have so little to say about what they did. Then again, they didn’t really do much to begin with.
There is hardly enough movie here to properly determine whether or not the transfer is any good, but I’d have to say that, yes, it is. Actually, if there’s one thing to be said for all of the “Scary Movies,” it’s that they all look halfway decent. Producer Bob Weiss comments on this, noting that in order to effectively spoof another movie, it is first necessary to accurately capture the look and feel of that film. Because “The Ring,” “Signs” and “The Matrix” are all well-shot films, the recreations in this film had to look almost as good. Sound design, on the other hand, is not such a big priority when it comes to these spoofs. Dialogue and ham-handed sound effects are the important thing here, so the 5.1 mix essentially blares treble-heavy dialogue at you with four speakers.
“Scary Movie 3.5” provides an in-depth look at the making of this parody disaster, but the movie itself is nothing short of bad. So skip it, or your television might turn on by itself in order to kill you.