Scary Movie 3

The best Scary Movie ever! Not really saying much, mind.

Released in 2003, certified UK-15. Reviewed on 25 Jan 2004 by Scott Morris
Scary Movie 3 image

I firmly believe that there's no point at all in my writing this review. You already know what you're going to make of the latest in the Scary Movie franchise and there's little I could say to sway you one way or the other. More on this later, but first a few facts.

  • It's unquestionably the funniest Scary Movie by a vast, U.S. deficit gap sized margin. This damns it with faint praise.
  • It's amongst David Zucker's worst films. Given his track record, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
  • Much of the humour here revolves around obvious slapstick. Your own tastes more than anything will determine whether you laugh or not.
  • There's lots of silly sight gags, daft linguistic tricks and parodies of films already parodied. Your own tastes more than anything will determine whether you laugh or not.
  • Contains Leslie Nielsen. All films should contain Leslie Nielsen. He is unquestionably a good thing.
  • It's unlikely to do anything at all to surprise you, with what you expect from it going in largely determining what you get from it.

There's no real plot worth talking about here. It's a rather loose format allowing it to jump around and carry out mickey extraction of various movies, in the main the M. Night Shyamalan directed Signs and The Sixth Sense (for about the umpteenth time) and the superlative The Ring. Less obviously it goes for 8 Mile, The Matrix Reloaded and even briefly Bruce Almighty. It carries these out with varying degrees of competency, and along with it varying degrees of laughs.

Scary Movie 3 image

When it works best it's poking films at deserve to be deflated somewhat, such as the pompous Architect scenes from The Matrix Reloaded and, well, all of the ridiculous Signs. Thankfully it avoids doing any bullet-time parodies which is always the fear when the phrase 'Matrix parody' is uttered, and it's all the better for it. Still, there's more of a reliance on pratfalls than is strictly necessary for a film especially as it's been done far better before. I was rather puzzled by the warm reception these tired gags were given by the audience. After all, hadn't we seen the exact same jokes in Police Squad!, Airplane, Naked Gun, Hot Shots! et al?

This puzzled me until I looked round at the assembled audience, and realised that no, they probably haven't seen these gags done better before. With only the talentless Wayans brothers doing anything Zucker-esque of late the assembled throngs of target audience teenagers are unlikely to have sought out silly old films, no matter how superior to today's offerings. This is perhaps one of the few times having ten years of film-going experience on the majority of the audience is a down-side, although it did mean that we were about the only people to get the Airplane! reference in the dying minutes.

Some of it works better than others. Someone carrying coffee tripping over Cindy isn't funny, the pathetic off-camera yelp of 'My eyes!' is. Perhaps more misses than hits, but Zucker is wise to cast of the numerous weak links from the previous two films, only Anna Faris and Regina Hall remaining. Joining them are the usual genre mainstays of Charlie Sheen and Leslie Nielsen, both of whom have done far better previously, and Simon Rex who ought not to have bothered. Shoring up the cast are Jeremy Piven, Eddie Griffin, Queen Latifah, Ja Rule and George Carlin all of whom stay largely in frame and that's all I have to say about them.

Scary Movie 3 image

See, the thing of it is that your mindset going into the film is going to determine what you make of it more than the jokes on the screen are. If, rather like we were going into American Pie: The Wedding, you have no hope whatsoever that it will make you laugh then guess what, you won't be chuckling unless it happens to be the greatest comedy of all time. You'll face a similar disadvantage with Scary Movie 3, as if you've a dim opinion of it before the first reel even rolls then it's going to have to work double duty to even raise a wry smile, let alone a laugh.

To back this up and also to provide you, dearest of all our readers, the full spread of theOneliner opinions let me say the following. The man with no name apart from Disko was expecting this to be among the least funny films he'd ever seen. He was not disappointed. I had some hope that at least parts of it would be pretty funny, and lo and behold I laughed enough not to feel as though my time had been robbed. The chap you've come to know and love as Rhythmwiz lay somewhere between these two extremes (and in some bizarre cinema occupation corollary sat in between these two extremes also) and found his enjoyment to be between these two extremes. To reinforce the already apparent theme, 'extreme' does imply a level of entertainment not befitting my actual enjoyment level, but I found it a competent comedy.

But this is not a discourse on comparative comedic perceptions as pertaining to self-fulfilling prophecies. This is a Scary Movie 3 review, and although as I said above I reckon you already know in your heart and in your attitudes how you're going to judge this, I believe it does enough things well enough that anyone who is likely to buy a ticket will enjoy it. If you weren't already entertaining a vague notion of ponying up the fiver to see it there's no reason to recommend you do, and even Zucker fans will readily admit your time might be better spent re-watching Airplane!. It's a crass, stupid, obvious, slapstick, ultimately pointless and at best average film. But you already knew that, didn't you? Whether this is a barrier to your enjoyment is a call you'll have to make on your own. We can't do everything for you, you know.

Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 3/5 TippyMarks.

David Zucker
Cast list:
Charlie Sheen (Tom)
Simon Rex (George)
Jianna Ballard (Sue)
Jeremy Piven (Ross Giggins)
Anna Faris (Cindy Campbell)
Timothy Stack (Carson Ward)
Drew Mikuska (Cody)
Regina Hall (Brenda Meeks)
Anthony Anderson (Mahalik)
Kevin Hart (CJ)
Queen Latifah (Aunt Shaneequa)
Eddie Griffin (Orpheus)
Leslie Nielsen (President Harris)
Ja Rule (Agent Thompson)
George Carlin (Architect)