It was in the final act of Scary Movie 3 that I realized, for the very first time, how alone in the world I was. Late in the movie, which I saw in theaters at age 15, director David Zucker mainstay Leslie Nielsen bolted hastily through a closed door, knocking the film's ghoulish monster to its demise before it could attack heroes Anna Faris and Simon Rex, reciting all the while the following iconic line from Airplane!: "I just want to wish you both good luck. We're all counting on you." A vehement Airplane! fan and a sucker for reference humor, I of course laughed. But nobody else, in the entire cinema — not my buddies, my then-girlfriend, or the crowd of strangers around us — joined me. "You guys don't get it?" I asked. I was alone. Nielsen's line was a joke lost on this demographic in a movie constructed exclusively For this demographic.
Scary Movie 5 rectifies this inconsistency.
The new film is built on the same model of the Scary Movies of past: a conglomeration of the horror (and a few other) films of recent years. The premises of Mama, Paranormal Activity, and Evil Dead meld with much stranger choices, like Black Swan, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, and Inception (there are also a few nods to The Cabin In The Woods and The Help in there). Following the death of their father Charlie Sheen (who is killed by a possessed Lindsay Lohan), three young, feral kids are discovered living in a haunted cabin, and brought to the custody of their paternal uncle Dan (Rex, once again) and his child-hating girlfriend Jody (Ashley Tisdale). Accompanying the tots is an evil spirit, "Mama," who wreaks havoc on the new household. Aching to uphold her new career in ballet and hold her family together, Jody seeks the aid of her maid Maria (Lidia Porto), her Swan Lake rival (Erica Ash), a psychic (Katt Williams), a dream inception-er (Ben Cornish), and scientist Dan's hyper-intelligent monkey friend to put this evil to rest.
But while the film has a plethora of movies from which to choose for parody, it doesn't actually seem to make jokes About any of them.
The parody was constructed (and perfected in part by Zucker himself) as a means to call attention to the flaws, follies, and lovable imperfections of the genres of focus. There are a few instances in Scary Movie 5 when director Malcolm D. Lee seems to be lending his attention to the idiosyncrasies of his subjects: one prolongued shot in the film actually mimics and mocks the cinematography of Black Swan (that's the Airplane! joke of this installment). But beyond this instance, and a few jabs at the excessive surveillance camera-work in Paranormal Activity, the horror and thriller genres go relatively untouched. Instead of being parodies, they are just used as a vehicle to shove as many bits of violent and sexual humor into the hour-and-a-half entry as possible.
As such, it feels more appropriate that the likes of Inception and The Help and a few other recent pop culture phenomena (there's an entire Fifty Shades Of Grey sequence) are called to arms in Scary Movie 5. It doesn't matter that they're not scary movies, because Scary Movie 5 isn't about scary movies. It's about sex, vomiting, and racial stereotypes (every non-white character in this movie is reduced to a collection of bigoted gags). There are also horror movie references, but they're just there to get us to the scenes of a Latina housekeeper having sex with a vacuum cleaner.
And for those entirely willing to shirk off any satiric value in Scary Movie 5 just to make it to whatever gags the film has in store, troopers that you are, rest assured: the comedy that Scary Movie 5 does strive for is devastating. It's not simply that the jokes are irrelevant to the franchise's established identity. They're lazy, tossed in clumsily, redundant (So Many Scenes of babies being thrown into things), and the worst offense of the lot: they're nothing, Nothing, you have not seen before. In the shoddiest excuse for comedy films out there.
So, I think back to that fateful day in the theater, catching Scary Movie 3 on an weekend night in the autumn of my sophomore year of high school. I think about how the Airplane! reference inspired a momentary joy, reminding me of a far superior parodic exploit, and how it, albeit a moreover cheap reference, was actually somewhat of a riff on the construct of another film. One that didn't seem to really work for anyone there to enjoy Scary Movie 3. And I mourn the absence of this in No. 5. Nothing's flying over anybody's heads here:. It's all right there on the surface: babies being thrown into walls, maids shtupping household appliances, and people getting hit in the head.
Now That's good parody.
Follow Michael Arbeiter On Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
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Married to Jonas. You think it would mean endless shopping trips to the most expensive designers on New York City's 5th Avenue and non-stop spa visits in preparation for tons of glamorous parties. But like any other marriage, Kevin Jonas and Danielle Deleasa face their ups and downs too, and on Sunday night, we got a taste of what being Married to Jonas is all about.
A Banana in Bed
Good Christian boy Kevin Jonas. Well, so much for that one, as Jonas' purity ring-wearing days are a thing of the past. His marriage to Deleasa (they tied the knot on Dec. 19, 2009) seems to have changed him. During the opening scene, the wildest dreams of teenage girls circa 2009 finally came true when we got a glimpse at Jonas' intimate bedroom. There was one problem, though... Deleasa was laying in Jonas' king-sized bed, and he couldn't help but make a joke about Deleasa wanting to be a wife that can impress in the bedroom. Gross!
But that wasn't the only sexually awkward moment of the premiere. During another scene, Deleasa was in the kitchen cooking up a storm with her mother and two sisters when Jonas came back from a grocery run. In the middle of some back-and-forth joking, Jonas took it a step too far when he talked about Danielle liking having "bananas" in bed. Bananas in bed? Was he talking about a sex toy? Of course Deleasa got pissed about this. What girl wants her mom to know that she plays with "bananas" (if that really is what Jonas was talking about)? Thank goodness the joke went right over her mother and sisters' heads, and probably most of the audiences' as well.
Meet Big Ang's Replacement
During Season 2 of Mob Wives, we were introduced to the wonder that is Big Ang (Angela Raiola), the mafiosa queen who rules all of Staten Island with her gorgeous lips and big smile. But she's not the only one who knows how to cook up a storm. During the premiere of Married to Jonas, we met the new breakout star of reality TV: Deleasa's father, Bucky Deleasa. Not only does he show up at his daughter's house whenever he wants with no warning at all, but he is a self-proclaimed expert on all things culinary, and he lets you know it, too. Click here to watch a clip to understand why this guy is just awesome!
A Jonas Meeting or Dinner?
It's quite intimidating to prepare a dinner for your husband's whole family, especially when they are the famous Jonases. Deleasa did her best to to whip up a tasty meal, even enlisting her sisters and mother to help with the preparations (they didn't even score an invite after all this). But when the Jonas family finally sat down for dinner, forget them talking about Deleasa's wonderfully home-cooked Italian meal. It was straight to business, and how the upcoming Jonas tour would effect Deleasa and Kevin's plan for having a baby. Pass the ravioli please, and when are you going to pop one out? What a perfect dinner-table conversation: the sauce on the pasta. Yikes. Talk about being uncomfortable. Not something I will ever discuss with my in-laws over supper (if I ever get married).
Did you catch the premiere of Married to Jonas on E! Sunday night? If so, which scene was your favorite?
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat
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