Seven people. It took seven people to write ‘Scary Movie 2.’ That’s seven people who were needed to come up with an opening that involves such terribly original and clever visual gags as a girl peeing and vomiting profusely. That’s seven people to write a scene in which a woman boxes a cat. That’s seven people apparently required to brainstorm a commercial parody that was outdated even before the film hit theaters. That’s seven people that… well, you get the idea. You’d think that out of seven individual minds, seven unique, most likely well paid, well fed, well rested brains, that at least one worthwhile piece of comedy could be mustered out and slapped on screen. You’d think, but you’d be wrong. Very wrong. Rushed to cinemas only a year after its mostly well received predecessor, ‘Scary Movie 2’ is a painful, hastily stitched together, idiotic cash grab that lacks almost any redeeming qualities.
The story picks up where the last installment left off. Well, not exactly, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? In fact, characters that died in the last film show up here with no explanation, which actually sounds like it could’ve been funny, but sadly isn’t. All of our “favorites” return, including Cindy (Anna Faris), Brenda (Regina Hall), Ray (Shawn Wayans), and Shorty (Marlon Wayans) for more ghastly comedy, and by ghastly I don’t mean scary, I mean awful. Just truly awful. As the thin plot kicks into gear, the gang is all invited to spend a night in a spooky haunted house by a very creepy Tim Curry. I think if Tim Curry asked me to do anything I would immediately decline, if for no other reason than the fact that it was Tim Curry who asked. Regardless, they all happen to accept the offer and are soon joined by franchise newcomers Christopher Masterson, Tori Spelling, Kathleen Robertson, Chris Elliot, and the usually reliable David Cross. What follows is a painful series of mostly unfunny horror parodies that play out more like a run of bad comedy sketches than a legitimate movie.
Where the first ‘Scary Movie’ took aim at slasher flicks, here the focus is on supernatural horror. Everything from the likes of ‘The Exorcist,’ ‘House on Haunted Hill,’ and ‘What Lies Beneath,’ are mocked, along with completely irrelevant films like ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ and ‘Mission Impossible 2.’ Joining the movie parodies are similar jabs at various (then) contemporary pop culture staples and commercials. Unfortunately, despite some potentially ripe material to draw from, the vast majority of the spoofing is incredibly lazy, uninspired, and totally unfunny. The first ‘Scary Movie’ actually had some decent laughs thanks to some well thought out and clever observations on the conventions of the genre (well, sort of anyway), but here all we get is a cluster of broad, gross-out, juvenile jokes that are haphazardly thrown into situations that just happen to resemble classic horror movies. The film takes wide swings over and over again and repeatedly misses. Some examples of what passes for comedy here include the aforementioned rampant vomiting, wedgies, smack-talking parrots, and tiny, deformed hands (OK, that was maybe worth a momentary chuckle). There is absolutely no subtlety to any of the humor and not one ounce of wit. On top of all that, the heavy reliance on pop culture jokes instantly dates the material and renders many of the parodies obsolete (though, were they really ever funny to begin with?).
The cast is actually full of some pretty talented people, but thanks to the awful script and direction, they all come across like incompetent amateurs. The Wayans Brothers can be funny under the right circumstances and with the right material, but here they basically recycle the same one-note jokes from the first film with Shawn playing up his character’s not so closeted sexuality, and Marlon delivering an endless barrage of boring weed gags. Anna Faris manages to come out the best (though that really isn’t saying much), and her performance of wide-eyed idiocy is marginally amusing and charming, but with nothing funny to do or say it all adds up to very little. Even the usually solid David Cross can’t save the film, and his character’s wheelchair related humor is simply awful, and not because it’s offensive, because it’s stupid. In fact, that pretty much sums up the whole effort. This is just a stupid movie. A very stupid movie.
A quick, rushed, lazy cash grab, ‘Scary Movie 2’ is a perfect example of how not to do a sequel. Purely fueled by greed and not creativity, this is a lifeless and unfunny film. The only real saving grace here is the fact that it’s only eighty two minutes long, though honestly, that’s about eighty minutes too many. Though this isn’t exactly a series known for quality material, this by far the worst installment and should definitely be avoided.