I’ve long held the belief that the “Adjective Movie” series has been the single worst trend of the 2000’s. That said, I’ve held this belief without ever seeing a single film in the series. Yes, somehow despite being a teenage male just entering High School when the original “Scary Movie” came out in 2000 (in other words, the key demographic), I’ve somehow avoided all four movies in that series, “Not Another Teen Movie”, “Epic Movie”, “Date Movie”, “Meet the Spartans”, “Superhero Movie”, “Disaster Movie”, “Dance Flick” and, most recently, “Vampires Suck”. Just typing the names of all those terrible movies out makes me cringe. That’s why, when I received a package with copies of “Scary Movie 2” and “3”, I felt a sense of dread. Despite going over a decade avoiding these cinematic disasters, my time had come. It was time I finally experienced one of this series once and for all.
However unpleasant as that sounds, I was actually somewhat curious how a film like “Scary Movie 2” would hold up ten years after it’s release. Given that these films rely on simply referencing whatever was popular in the months leading up to their release, I thought it’d be an interesting experiment to see how a film like this plays now that so many of it’s references are dated or even forgotten. The short answer? Not well. Unfortunately, the problems with “Scary Movie 2” run far deeper than simply being dated. It’s a painfully unfunny film (a term I use hesitantly), that’s marred by problems as wide ranging as a non-existent plot, an immense amount of squandered comedic talents and, maybe most surprisingly, a surprising amount of racist, homophobic overtones.
I’ll make one thing immediately clear, I did not laugh once watching “Scary Movie 2”. Not even a chuckle. For a film that’s far more comedy than it is horror, this is a fatal, inexcusable flaw. “Scary Movie 2” attempts to elicit laughs using three main attempts at humor, cultural references, gross-out body humor and hack jokes. There’s nothing here that even attempts to appeal to someone with even half a brain. Now don’t get me wrong, comedies can succeed using low-brow humor as their main source of laughs. “Superbad” is one of my favorite comedies ever. The problem is, for a comedy to be successful, it has to let the viewer come to it, consciously take in the humor, process it themselves and then react. The humor in “Scary Movie 2” is aggressively unfunny, and never affords the viewer any time to really take in the joke. As a result, every joke is flat, obvious or one-dimensional.
For example, probably the most groan-inducing joke in the entire film happens after Tori Spelling’s character gets killed by a falling chandelier. There’s an annoying parrot character, a reference to the Jay Mohr film “Paulie” which I’m sure you’ve either totally forgotten or aren’t aware exists, that then pipes in with the oh so classic line “you are the weakest link, goodbye”. That’s the joke. A catch phrase from a terrible NBC (at least I think that was on NBC) game show that was on for a few years and was a go-to “joke” for every unfunny Uncle across America. There’s nothing to process. The “joke” is simply using a catch phrase that was popular at the time. There’s absolutely nothing to process, nothing to take in, nothing to reflect on, nothing. It also doesn’t help that the whole thing is so dated that some of the references will get missed by younger viewers. I remember a commercial at some point in time with people playing basketball to some sort of “Stomp”-esque soundtrack, but I can’t remember what it was for or anything specific about it. It’s parodied in this film. I would highly doubt if anyone could tell me what that commercial was for. Yet, it’s immortalized in this film and stands no chance of being funny if no one knows what’s going on.
You also better really like crude body humor because within the first five minutes a character pisses on the floor, another takes an enormous shit and then there’s a three-way barf-a-thon. By the end of the film, you can add multiple scenes with someone getting ejaculated upon, a tucked-under-dick, self-fellatio, a “camel toe” kung-fu style, a parrot with an enormous erection, a ghost rape and more fart jokes than you can count. Pretty much any and every joke involving some kind of bodily fluid or genitals exists in this film. And again, unlike a film like “Superbad” that elevates the dick joke by framing it in a way that requires the viewer to connect the dots and figure out why the joke is funny, everything here is pretty much “dicks are funny, so here’s some dicks for you to laugh it”.
Then there’s the hack humor. If a joke isn’t a reference to some outdated cultural flash-in-the-pan or doesn’t involve something that comes out of a human body, it’s a super-obvious joke the most hacky of comedians could make. Which is unbelievable when you look at some of the comedic talent involved with this mess. Andy Richter, David Cross, Robert Schimmel, James Woods, the Wayans, and Tim Curry are all pretty funny people that happen to be in this film. You’d never know it by the humor on display. Despite the immense amount of comedic talent involved, none of them seemingly had any say in the jokes that ultimately made the cut. It’s shocking in a way.
Some of the things that made the cut are similarly bothersome, particular the characters played by the Wayan’s themselves. Now I’m sure you could make an argument that their characters themselves are actually a reflection on how so many horror films are filled with racist or homophobic stereotypes, but I somehow don’t think that a film that features someone getting ejaculated onto the ceiling is intelligent enough to be that reflective. Regardless, both characters are pretty offensively racist or homophobic. Again, I’m of the opinion that anything can be funny in the right light. However, when these characters are so hacky, there’s nothing about them that becomes interesting, reflective or possibly humorous. It’s just offensive.
I would say that “Scary Movie 2” hasn’t aged well, however that would mean that at one point it was actually worth watching. At least now having finally seen one of these films, I can definitively say that I was absolutely right when I said that this series is the worst trend to hit cinemas in the 2000’s. If you’re like me and you’ve avoided these films, take my word for it, keep it that way.