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'Scary Movie 2'

'Scary 2:' Gross, not funny

Wednesday, July 04, 2001

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

It's Independence Day, so how about this? We should have the freedom to go to the movies and not be subjected to scenes revolving around bodily fluids and functions.

Remember the volume of water that drenched the fishermen in "The Perfect Storm"? That seems to have been the standard for "Scary Movie 2" when it comes to urine, pea-soup vomit and other less delicate substances. The tagline for last summer's "Scary Movie" had ended with the phrase "No sequel." Well, they lied. A U.S. box-office of $157 million will do that.

As with its predecessor, "Scary Movie 2" aims to spoof popular movies, from "The Exorcist" and "What Lies Beneath" to "Titanic," "Hannibal" and, especially, "The Haunting." It extracts scenes from those films and gives them a crude, lewd twist that often is not funny.

Over the top and gross, but not amusing -- at least not to me, although some of the preview audience thought otherwise. It also makes fun of a character with a (fake) misshapen, undersize hand and uses Down syndrome as a punch line.

The movie opens with a spoof of "The Exorcist" and a role intended for Marlon Brando. Brando got sick and canceled, leaving the part of a priest to James Woods, who gets to put his Oscar-nominated talents to use imploring, "Please, Lord, help me to release this demon." He's sitting on the toilet after having eaten enchiladas; cue the vulgar sound effects.

The action then shifts to a year later, when a mad college professor (Tim Curry) recruits subjects to spend a weekend at a haunted mansion presided over by a crazy caretaker (Chris Elliott). Among the captive guests are Cindy (Anna Faris) who looks eerily like the wife of the late master of the house, pothead Shorty (Marlon Wayans), sexually confused Ray (Shawn Wayans) and his girlfriend, Brenda (Regina Hall). Comic David Cross is the professor's assistant whose use of a wheelchair is a target of jokes, and Tori Spelling is a guest who gets up close and personal with an otherworldly being.

To get "Scary Movie 2," directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans and written by a gang of seven, you probably need to have seen "The Haunting." Otherwise, the Catherine Zeta-Jones knockoff won't mean much, nor will the plant that takes over a room.

Without the constraints of TV, the Wayans brothers ("In Living Color") are as bad and crude as they want to be. That doesn't translate to funny or cohesive. So call me a prude. When the emperor is wearing no clothes, someone needs to point it out.

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