Scary Movie 2, 2001, ½ star

Scary-bad taste

From The Orlando Weekly, July 6, 2001

In Scary Movie 2, the Wayan Brothers once again do what they do best: push the boundaries of good taste to the breaking point. In fact, if there is an antithesis of the old Hayes production code for Hollywood films, which sought to rein in what the industry of the time considered vulgar or explicit, it would be this amateurish sequel. The movie poster bills the film as “more merciless, more shameless.” It doesn’t disappoint.

Director Keenen Ivory Wayans returns many of the actors from the first film and also brings Tim Curry and Tori Spelling along for the ride. And parodying Max Van Sydow’s character from the Exorcist, we find James Woods replacing Marlon Brando, who apparently fell too ill to do the part once reading the script. Despite the loss of the millions Brando was offered for the five-minute role, one should be glad he bowed out as it would have been tragic to see the great actor in a truly offensive and repulsive parody of the 1973 classic that had even the agnostics in the audience shouting blasphemy.

The story, though hardly worth mentioning, is a combination of several horror films but gets most of its plot by combining The Haunting with House on Haunted Hill. Because of their brush with the ghoul from the first film, Anna Faris, screenwriters Shawn and Marlon Wayans and the others are viewed by Curry as the perfect subjects for his experiment with the supernatural. Put them all in a possessed house, add some special effects and a few more unfunny movie spoofs, throw in a deformed and dramatically confused Chris Elliot, and you have a leading contender for this year’s worst flick.

It’s too easy to dismiss this film as adolescent fun, as it truly can be blamed, along with other recent adolescent comedies, for desensitizing audiences to disgusting sexual visuals, drug references and obscenities. Ten years ago it might have been slapped with an NC-17, but today we seem fine with allowing preteens to see scenes of women getting pinned to the wall by flying male ejaculation, a joke that the filmmakers liked so much they regurgitated it from the original. Some would applaud the Wayans for showing the imagination to take these crude jokes to their visual extremes, but it doesn’t take much inspiration to have your cast vomit on each other or repeat a joke enough times to make your audience yawn and cringe with disbelief at the same time.

To get any enjoyment out of the original, you had to leave your brains at home. With the sequel, remember to leave your stomachs too.