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With: Anna Faris, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Jon Abrahams, Shannon Elizabeth, Cheri Oteri, Lochlyn Munro, Regina Hall, Dave Sheridan, Carmen Electra
Written by: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
Directed by: Keenen Ivory Wayans
MPAA Rating: R for strong crude sexual humor, language, drug use and violence
Running Time: 88
Date: 07/07/2000

Scary Movie (2000)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Scared Silly

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

My first thought on Keenen Ivory Wayans' Scary Movie is to tellyou to keep anyone under 17 away. I'm not kidding. Though the movie israted R, it deserves an NC-17.

My next thought is to tell you that, if you're over 17, Scary Movie is plenty shocking and wickedly funny.

Carmen Electra begins Scary Movie by doing a reprise of Drew Barrymore's 10-minute turn in Scream (1996). (She tells the killer that her favorite scary movie is Kazaam with Shaquille O'Neal.) It's a spoof of many recent popular horror movies, smushing together highlights from Scream, Scream 2 (1997), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), The Sixth Sense (1999), The Blair Witch Project (1999), and other recent hits and centers around a masked killer on the loose chasing teens. You can try to guess who the killer is, but it won't do you any good.

Scary Movie lifts scenes intact from these movies, adds a joke or two, and crafts a whole new movie from them. Cheri Oteri and Dave Sheridan riff on Courtney Cox' reporter and David Arquete's bumbling deputy from Scream. One scene in a movie theater (borrowed from Scream 2) delivers delicious revenge on annoying and thoughtless moviegoers who talk to the screen and on their cell phones. Scary Movie reminded me of nothing less than the old MAD Magazine movie parodies. I used to love seeing my favorite movies like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark get skewered in the pages of MAD. My guess is that they had as much affection for the movie as I did, but they showed it by giving it a noogie and mussing its hair.

The Wayans brothers do more than that. They've given their movie a gross-out factor that goes beyond the Farrelly brothers. Me, Myself & Irene looks wholesome and good-natured next to Scary Movie. We're talking more of the level of John Waters' early films like Pink Flamingos (1971). I don't want to give any of the individual jokes away, because most of the fun of Scary Movie is the shock of seeing it and not believing what you're seeing.

Scary Movie was written by brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans (along with Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer) who also appear in the film and are best known for "The Wayans Brothers" TV Show. Director Keenen Ivory Wayans was the creator of the hip, funny In Living Color (the show that spawned Jim Carrey) and also the writer/director of I'm Gonna Git You Sucka! (1987) a much sharper spoof on the Blaxploitation genre (which would be a good rent right now with the new Shaft out in theaters). Together, this team gives Scary Movie an outsider's perspective. It delights in making fun of the traditional exploiters--the white males--rather than the exploited, females and black characters. Scary Movie finds any excuse to show various male organs, various bodily functions, bodily imperfections, and bodily augmentations. And nary a topless female body is to be seen.

I laughed a lot at Scary Movie, though most of those laughs were from sheer shock value. That in itself is rather refreshing, though many people may not agree. Still, if you're hoping to forget your troubles for 90 minutes, Scary Movie certainly does the job.

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