First and foremost: Scary Movie 5 is not a funny movie. I know I usually state in my reviews that humour is subjective, but finding a joke or sight gag in Malcolm D. Lee’s comedy that could be deemed as hilarious or clever would be like sifting through the Pacific Ocean to find a sliver of gold.
It’s a bizarre comedy that forces the audience to wonder about who thought these jokes and slapstick routines would hit the right notes for moviegoers thirteen and up. Malcolm D. Lee and his unruly writers (Pat Proft and ex-spoof master David Zucker) write jokes that feel as stale and cheap as they look on screen being acted by less than enthused actors.
It’s a movie that thinks everything is funnier when it’s sped up. People running, people falling down, people mugging at the camera. This was funny when comedian Benny Hill was doing this in the 70’s – and even that is debatable. But nowadays, moviegoers need more than just watching someone fall twice as fast. There needs to be timing, rhythm, and talent on both sides of the camera for the best slapstick to be pulled off and Scary Movie 5 has none of these traits from what I can see.
Second of all: Scary Movie 5 is not a movie – at least, my definition of a movie. It’s a movie in the same sense as Movie 43 and InAPPropriate Comedy were movies. Hell, it’s a movie in the same sense that Disaster Movie and Meet The Spartans were movies. It’s more of a cash-in.
Scary Movie 5 has more of a story than those aforementioned disappointments, but the barrage of references to random pop culture peppered throughout these extended sketches are very loosely threaded together.
The trailers and TV spots for Scary Movie 5 sell this instalment as a send-up to Paranormal Activity, but what moviegoers end up getting is a story that pokes fun at this year’s earlier chiller Mama. Along with the spoof of Mama, moviegoers also get two other prominent spoofs wringing out Black Swan and this year’s Evil Dead remake.
The majority of online sources tracking Scary Movie 5’s haphazardly lethargic development state that the film was completed in 2012 with some re-shoots occurring in early 2013 – I don’t buy it. With recent spoof movies, filmmakers glance at upcoming movies and try to synchronize the release of their comedy with these blockbusters so the relevancy stays fresh.
Paranormal Activity is an easy and expected target for this franchise, but the Mama jabs are peculiar. It’s as if Lee and his team of stale writers saw the trailer for Mama and predicted that it would become a hit. The problem with writing with this mentality is that no one can predict the future. Mama received mixed but mostly favourable reviews (including mine), but was no way demanding the spoofing treatment.
To make matters worse, Scary Movie 5 almost reenacts Mama beat for beat, signalling to me that Lee and his writers actually watched the original film before shooting theirs. If the filmmakers watched Mama before shooting their spoof, that means that this pivotal plot was filmed less than three months ago before being thrown into theatres. The same can be said about the head-scratching placement of the Evil Dead scenarios. These can’t be considered re-shoots. This is building the movie from the ground up while balancing extremely poor and rushed time management.
That is too fast of a turnaround time to ensue smart writing or correct promotion. I wouldn’t be proposing this would-be schedule if I didn’t feel confident that this was true. It adds to the slapdash nature of this terrible movie. It looks and feels thrown together without a care in the world; as if everything was conceived in a matter of weeks. Why? Because the relevancy has taken seniority over thought out and well calculated comedy.
If I was the editor of this colossal stinker, I’d be running to the hills or at least trying to remove my credit from this film. I’ve never seen editing that has looked and felt so lazy. Then again, when Lee and his crew are giving editor Sam Seig this footage to work with, as well as poorly executed ADR, it’s inevitable the results wouldn’t fare well.
There are moments where an actor is saying one thing while a superimposed audio clip is trying to cover up what they’re really saying. It may be a swear being covered to maintain a PG-13 rating or a detail that is irrelevant to the movie after multiple edits. Either way, these are awful mistakes.
And for those who are nitpickey with their dosage of found footage, prepare for the frustration. The film makes use of the aforementioned sped up footage with the addition of the camera’s time code, but forgets to slow the time back down when characters are moving at a normal pace. Strike two, Seig…
Additionally, these three main spoofs read as extended bits for the MTV Movie Awards that need crucial editing to pin down the timing. Flatlining jokes are repeated over and over again hoping to breathe life into the material, but Seig as well as Lee need to know when to move on to the next attempt to make audiences laugh instead of trying the same unfunny trick ad nauseam.
Scary Movie 5 is embarrassing for the actors and embarrassing for the team who stitched this cruddy production together from scratch, hoping to conduct electricity through this tired baked potato of a franchise.