Scary Movie 2

| July 14, 2001

Perhaps I’m sick and demented, but I enjoyed a few belly laughs in Scary Movie 2, the Wayans Brothers’ sequel to the hit film that spoofed all those horror films that made you pee your pants with fright when you were little. Scary Movie 2 doesn’t have much of a plot or, if it did, I missed it. But the “let’s see how raunchy we can get” scenes help move the film along. Listen to me, talking about this film as if it were an adaptation of one of Tennessee Williams’ more brilliant yet controversial plays from stage to screen, or one of Stephen King’s nightly horror novels from book to box office. Well, in a way, almost, but on a much lower scale on the taste meter.
The film opens with a parody of The Exorcist with cameo appearances by James Woods (Any Given Sunday, The Virgin Suicides) and Andy Richter (Late Night with Conan O’Brien) as the priests trying to save a young girl possessed by the Devil, played by Natasha Lyonne (American Pie, But I’m A Cheerleader). Split pea soup and all, this is the perfect comedic opening for what is to come.
Anna Faris (Lover’s Lane, Eden) and Regina Hall (Ally McBeal) carry on roles originated in the first film. As Cindy Cambell, I find Ms. Faris’s acting to be particularly annoying, and I can attribute this to her exagerated na├»vite and innocently improper one-liners, and the smirking with the big wide eyes. Perhaps it’s meant to be original without being overbearing. In all fairness, there is talent here, although it seems most of this comes from the influence of the director, Keenan Ivory Wayans.
Shawn and Marlon Wayans wrote and starred in the film, which was directed by older brother Keenan. The brothers from New York have been making their mark in the industry since the early 80’s, when their careers really took off with the now classic television show In Living Color (1992), which co-starred both Jim Carrey and fourth brother Damon, who now has his own series on ABC. Other writing credits for Shawn and Marlon include the original Scary Movie, the television show The Wayans Brothers (1995) and the outrageously silly comedy Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood (1996), which hinted at their spoofing talents.
The sequel’s plot, such as it is, deals with the survivors from the previous Scary Movie, now in college. Their professor, played by Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Charlie’s Angels) tricks them into coming to Hell House (where a legendary exorcism once took place) for a sleep disorder study among twenty-somethings. The professor and his grotesque groundskeeper (Chris Elliot, There’s Something About Mary), have a juicy scheme of their own. The jokes are humorous, but not ingenious. The Wayans take already written material, add a few disgusting jokes about sex, leaking body orifices and rude mannerisms, and call it their own. I suppose this would make them appear overrated, but Mad magazine has been doing this for decades. And isn’t that what a spoof really is?
Other recognizable actresses include Beverly Hills, 90210 veterans Tori Spelling and Kathleen Robertson, and singer Vitamin C, none of whom bring much of anything to the movie.
I can’t say this was better than the first one. I think most people will find it somewhat run-of-the-mill and might even wonder where the fine line between NC-17 and R-Rated comes into focus. Especially with the line, “Tucked in or out?” If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know what I’m referring to.
But sometimes we go to the movies to escape our lives for a few hours and all we ask is to be entertained. If those are your expectations, you may enjoy this. Otherwise, don’t bother.

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