Combustible Celluloid
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With: Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Marlene Forte, David Koechner, Dave Sheridan, Nick Swardson, Alanna Ubach, Andrew Daly, Cedric the Entertainer, Affion Crockett
Written by: Marlon Wayans, Rick Alvarez
Directed by: Michael Tiddes
MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, language and some drug use
Running Time: 86
Date: 01/11/2013

A Haunted House (2013)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Ghosts Gone Wild

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Co-writer and star Marlon Wayans and his crew have clearly made an attempt to move beyond their usual "spoof" movies, with fewer direct references to pop culture and more focus on characters and romantic relationships; Wayans even plays the movie's "straight man," giving the funniest lines to outsiders. Yet A Haunted House is still steeped in the crudest, most vulgar type of humor, milking laughs mainly out of uncomfortable sexual situations.

Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) decides to move in with his girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins). Things start off a bit rocky as the couple's annoying habits become apparent, but that's nothing compared to the malevolent demon that seems to be visiting their house. Malcolm decides to hire a security man (David Koechner) to set up cameras throughout the house, but when the disturbances become more paranormal, a psychic (Nick Swardson) is called in, followed by an exorcist (Cedric the Entertainer). Soon, it's clear that the demon is after Kisha; can Malcolm save the day before it's too late?

One character is gay and hot for Wayans' character, while the demon likes to have "sex" with Atkins' character, and the next-door neighbors are kinky "swingers." Other jokes are filled out with the usual farting, bad language, and drug references. On the plus side, the filmmakers have paid close attention to the Paranormal Activity movies and have mercilessly skewered their methods, and Cedric the Entertainer's arrival late in the movie is a breath of fresh air; his (clearly improvised) line deliveries provide the movie's few genuine laughs.

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