"Scary Movie"

Sex and guns and new handicap gags, but no word on how the directors found the right fart sound for Carmen Electra.

Published January 4, 2001 8:00PM (EST)

"Scary Movie"
Directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans
Starring Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Anna Faris
Dimension Home Video; widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Extras: Additional scenes, making-of featurette, trailer

"In order to be funny, you got to push the envelope," declares Marlon Wayans on the DVD of "Scary Movie." Or, to be more specific, you got to toss in a lot of fart jokes. "Scary Movie" is primarily a send-up of "Scream," Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven's deconstruction of teenage horror movies, which makes it a spoof of a spoof. It also takes jabs at "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "Urban Legend," "The Sixth Sense" and "The Blair Witch Project," among other films. There are some pretty good chuckles, but, by and large, it's pretty lightweight fare.

Luckily, the bulk of the Wayans brood -- Damon must have been busy -- didn't have to bother themselves with matters of plot and characterization in concocting this film; the objects of their mirth didn't have much going on in these departments either. It helps if viewers have seen the originals to fully appreciate the layers of ridicule in "Scary Movie," but it's not necessary. Most of the gags are self-explanatory and are about as challenging as a Three Stooges short (though not nearly as funny).

The DVD lacks a commentary from one or all of the Wayans, but this isn't much of a loss. What could they do -- explain the pains they took to craft a fart noise worthy of Carmen Electra's posterior? Instead, the disc, like many recent DVDs, features "additional scenes" that are in reality "some stuff swept up from the cutting-room floor that wasn't good enough for the original release." In this case, the scenes include an unfunny sex bit involving Marlon Wayans, a willing partner and a pair of guns, and some slapstick with Cheri Oteri that may constitute the most offensive treatment of a disabled person in a mainstream film. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

A making-of featurette for the most part consists of director Keenen Ivory Wayans and his two siblings enthusing about the need to mock the teen-slasher genre -- something the "Scream" films already did fairly effectively -- and why their offering is different. "Scream" was an "unfunny spoof," Marlon explains, while Keenen notes that "Scary Movie" is "a spoof of a satire." Oh. Put it like that, it almost sounds clever.

By David Lazarus

David Lazarus covers business and technology for the San Francisco Chronicle.

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