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Critics report: Scary Movie 5 worst of series, despite big stars

The latest installment of the Scary Movie franchise may have stars like Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen and even Mike Tyson but it doesn't tickle the ribs of the critics, some of whom have even called it the worst of the franchise.

hollywood Updated: Apr 19, 2013 16:56 IST
Lindsay Lohan,Charlie Sheen Scary Movie 5,Mike Tyson

Film: Scary Movie 5
Cast: Charlie Sheen (Himself), Lindsay Lohan (Herself), Snoop Dogg (Himself), Mike Tyson (Himself) and Ashley Tisdale
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Plot Synopsis: A couple begin to experience some unusual activity after bringing their newborn son home from the hospital. With the help of home-surveillance cameras and a team of experts, they learn they're being stalked by a nefarious demon.

The latest installment of the Scary Movie franchise may have stars like Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen and even Mike Tyson but it doesn't tickle the ribs of the critics, some of whom have even called it the worst of the franchise.

Andy Webster, The New York Times
Hollywood has certainly kept the screenwriters (the Scary Movie veterans Pat Profft and David Zucker) supplied with material: the biggest targets here are the Paranormal Activity series, Black Swan and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, with nods to Mama, The Ring, Saw and others.

The pot and potty jokes are to be expected, while repeated, casual denigrations of the couple’s Hispanic housekeeper (Lidia Porto) inadvertently suggest affluent, unthinking Los Angeles prejudice. Most effective are high-speed video sequences (a Paranormal staple) used for silent-movie physical comedy. And a poolside soiree of possessed, hard-partying home appliances has its moments. But Marlon Wayans’s satire A Haunted House got to Paranormal first, and for a much smaller budget delivered bigger laughs.

ScaryAmy Nicholson, Los Angeles Times

Director Malcolm D. Lee's strategy is to out-stupid the competition. Roll your eyes at Paranormal Activity 2's haunted robot pool cleaner? Here the droid stirs to life to throw a raging house party, snorting bleach through its nozzle and somehow playing beer pong without any hands.

The pacing alternates between frantic and stoned. Within five minutes, an Inception gag begets a Fifty Shades of Grey gag begets a cameo from Mike Tyson, who at this point in his career appears to be a gag just by showing up. While another five minutes drags on in a montage in which Simon Rex repeatedly electrocutes himself installing security cameras, the better to prevent Ghost Mom from sticking Tisdale's toothbrush up the wrong end of a German shepherd.
Verdict: The eye-rolling antics abound in the latest horror-film parody, where even Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan are barely believable as themselves.

Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly
Hitting theaters seven years after the last Scary Movie, the new film doesn't even feature the ameliorating presence of Anna Faris, who gave the earlier films a certain spoofy grace. In her place is High School Musical refugee Ashley Tisdale, her face frozen in an eyeroll of mild irritation. Who can blame her? The film hopscotches between too-late riffs on Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Inception, Insidious, and Black Swan. At a running time of 86 minutes, it's about as long as an episode of Saturday Night Live, except with less laughs and worse storytelling.

ScaryBack in 2002, director Malcolm D. Lee made the Blaxploitation spoof Undercover Brother. It wasn't a great movie, but at least the comedy had a certain specificity, knowingly riffing on the tropes of its genre. Here, Lee's spoofing barely even scratches the surface. Weirdly, the central plotline of the film is taken wholesale from Mama — a movie that hit theaters just three months ago. Points for topicality, but that only increases the sense that we're watching a rush job. Reportedly, Scary Movie V cost $20 million to make — roughly $20 million more than the entire budget of the first Paranormal Activity. Somehow, it actually looks cheaper than Paranormal Activity. It's less funny, too.

Verdict: Then you should probably steer clear of Scary Movie V, a film composed almost entirely of jokes that were much funnier when you read them on Twitter years ago.

Stephanie Merry, Washington Post
...Scary Movie doesn’t really put any kind of twist on these familiar plots, so much as present them in some brainless context. But stupid doesn’t necessarily equate to funny, and that goes for Heather Locklear, dressed as a pregnant ballerina whose water breaks all over a male dancer’s face as he lifts her above his head.

But no, there’s nothing worthy of even a small smirk. Instead, the movie serves up violence against man, woman, child, doll and ape, not to mention sexual situations involving a German shepherd, a hairy, overweight nanny, Santa Claus, an automatic swimming pool cleaner, a pony and a microwave. A knock-knock joke told by a 6-year-old would be funnier than this endless stream of flatulence jokes, feces-infused food items and gratuitous vomiting.

ScaryVerdict: The movie is so appalling that even a film fan who guffawed her way through The Aristocrats would feel nothing but a deep emptiness as the end credits begin to roll, wondering if one solid joke was too much to ask from a movie that bills itself as comedy.

Justin Chang, Variety
There’s something admittedly shrewd about merging elements from Mama and the Paranormal pics, though the fact that these family-in-danger movies themselves tended toward the tediously repetitive ensures a similar effect in comedic terms. More random, and all the more welcome for it, are the many shoehorned-in references to Inception and especially Black Swan, as Jody’s sudden decision to revive her once-promising ballet career, accompanied by much back-of-the-head wobblecam, supplies the sole instance of visual wit displayed by director Malcolm D. Lee (Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins, Undercover Brother).

Audiences not inclined to laugh at the sight of a baby’s head catching fire are encouraged to at least chuckle at the various gags made at the expense of Jody and Dan’s housekeeper (a game Lidia Porto), who satisfies many of the pic’s comedic-target prerequisites by being plus-sized, hysterically religious and Latina. Elsewhere in the cast, Mike Tyson appears briefly in a scene whose purpose is so vague as to suggest a plug for The Hangover Part III; Snoop Dogg briefly amuses as a stoner who stumbles upon a cabin in the woods; and Molly Shannon makes a hilariously boozy ballerina. Still, you’ll miss the Wayans brothers.

First Published: Apr 19, 2013 16:42 IST