"No mercy. No shame. No sequel." If only those two groups of
brothers--Wayans and Weinstein--had heeded the last part of that tagline for the
original _Scary_Movie_. But since that tiresome wallow in bodily fluids was the
shock blockbuster of last summer, here now is, indeed, the sequel--even though
the first film more than drained the well of teen slasher movies to lampoon.
So what's left for _Scary_Movie 2_ make fun of? That the first film's
primary target/model was _Scream_ and that this one's is Jan DeBont's justly
maligned remake of _The_Haunting_ says everything about _Scary_Movie_2_'s
creative bankruptcy. The story--which simply has the characters from the first
film stay in a haunted house--is supposed to get its (for lack of a better term)
"inspiration" from thrillers of a supernatural bent such as _The_Haunting_,
_What_Lies_Beneath_, _Poltergeist_, and _The_Exorcist_. But in this film more
than the last, director Keenen Ivory Wayans and the writing crew headed by stars
Shawn and Marlon Wayans depend on tangents based on non-genre films and other
pop culture items of the moment. That wouldn't be a problem if the bits
actually paid off, but all the gags in the film either start well then sputter
at the end (e.g. the opening _Exorcist_-inspired sequence, which for all its
eventual shortcomings is still the most effective in the film; an overlong
takeoff on a Nike commercial) or are dead on arrival (a forced _Weakest_Link_
But _Scary_Movie_2_ fails less because of its lack of laughs than its
lack of shocks. _Scary_Movie_ was by no means a good film nor a particularly
hilarious one (though, admittedly, it had its moments); the only reason I can
come up with for its wild popularity was the startling and unexpected extremes
of its vulgarity. For this sequel, audiences are fully expecting the gratuitous
semen jokes and cartoonish raunch, thus whatever novelty the crassness had the
first time around is severely diminished.
Not diminished, however, is the appeal of returning lead Anna Faris.
Her Cindy Campbell is now a stand-in for Lili Taylor's rather dour role in
_The_Haunting_, and as such Faris has considerably fewer chances to flash her
natural comedic instincts; nonetheless, she makes the most of what little is
given her. Someone cast her in a real movie, please--not a slapdash, rushed
hack job like _Scary_Movie_2_.