With the original Scary Movie proving a golden goose for Miramax, it was inevitable that they'd soon come knocking at the Wayans brothers' door demanding a sequel. And so it arrives - - it's just a shame that what's produced comes from a slightly different goose-orifice...
Both movies go for the more-is-more approach, spraying their comedy at the screen and hoping some of it will stick. But in the case of Scary Movie 2, very little does. And whereas the first outing had, if not exactly originality, then plenty of shock value and crowd-pleasing antics, this struggles to generate those jaw-carpet interfaces. What's more, when a sequel repeats certain jokes almost verbatim (such as Cindy's encounter with a particularly strong stream of gene gravy), you have to start worrying. But wait - that's not the end of it.
For while there are more pop-cultural references in one minute of Scary Movie 2 than most films manage in one hour, some of them are so confusingly new and American that they'll fly straight over British audiences' heads. Yes, it's understandable that the Miramax higher-ups wanted their sequel fast, but their haste is just part of the problem - - not enough time has passed for us to assimilate all the necessary adverts and catchphrases. Scary Movie had Scream and its slashing cohorts to work from, plus the annoying "Wassup" Budweiser ads which were reaching epidemic levels in this country. To follow up, we're expected to sit through a minute's worth of basketball commercial spoofery that means nothing and is deathly unfunny.
So are there any bright spots? Three, to be exact. James Woods manages to squeeze a few laughs from an Exorcist-lampooning opener and the scenes featuring a foul-beaked parrot and possessed cat are amusing. The rest? Forget it. The cast runs through the motions, but this was never going to be about performance. Anna Faris screams and looks quizzical as Cindy, yet most of the time you get the feeling they've just CG'd her in from the first movie. Ditto Shorty and Ray, still wheeling out their respective schticks as giggling stoner and confused gay man... In fact, it's worrying when Tim Curry offers the least annoying turn of the lot.
And beyond all that, isn't it time we gave this sort of film the well-earned eternal rest it deserves? If even the Farrelly brothers can't produce a decent gross-outer, the signs are all there: the barrel of slop has run dry. It's time for this genre to go to its grave. And stay there.