- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2001

"Scary Movie 2," a holiday disgrace aimed at a low-minded segment of the public, is an ugly proposition with a vested interest in repulsive provocation. Director Keenen Ivory Wayans and his fellow pranksters, pretending to be parodistic mad dogs, wrench cliches from horror thrillers. The "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" pictures soaked up most of the brutally moronic abuse in "Scary Movie," a nest-fouling enterprise bankrolled by the same company, Dimension, that had flourished on the success of Wes Craven's superlative prototype, "Scream," four years earlier.
Given the ignorance and contempt reflected in most of the parody material, it seems unlikely that Mr. Wayans ever watched "Scream" from start to finish. He certainly is operating from a marginal skill level as both technician and humorist.
"Scary Movie" begins unceremoniously by heaping ridicule on "The Exorcist." The opening target is the scene in which the bedeviled Regan urinates on a rug. This mishap goes on and on and on in the Wayans meltdown, culminating in an abusive topper: The girl is whacked with a rolled-up newspaper by her irate mother, a non-comeback role for Veronica Cartwright.
James Woods, protected by no discernible comedy technique, enters as a gross-out parody of Max von Sydow's Father Merrin, now a martyr to agonized bowels and then a participant in a three-way volley of projectile pea soup, launched about 10 times to maximize the wretched excess. By that messy point, the "Scary" brain trust has emptied its "Exorcist" slop bucket. (Seven collaborators are credited with the screenplay, a document that in a genuinely self-respecting and witty culture might terminate their movie careers.)
Next stop: the 1999 remake of "The Haunting," a source so tedious that the smarties must confine their gags to a haunted-house setting. It also aggravates the shabby facade of the whole production, evidently made on pocket change stolen from panhandlers.
A campus setting briefly introduces Anna Faris, Marlon Wayans, Chris Masterson, Shawn Wayans, James DeBello, Regina Hall, Kathleen Robertson and Tori Spelling as the students lured to a country estate for paranormal experimentation by professor Tim Curry, who gets away without being conspicuously soiled, for some reason.
A crippled associate professor played by David Cross and a grotesque butler played by Chris Elliott mix it up with the youngsters in recurrent splattering spectacles. Runny mashed potatoes, a runny pie and fake blood are the preferred coatings. Mr. Cross simulates a wheelchair race with a ghost, perhaps vaguely recognizable as Richard Moll. Shawn Wayans gets wrapped inside a giant joint by a giant marijuana plant.

Still struggling to justify feature length, the filmmakers rope in bits from "Charlie's Angels" and "Hannibal." It's difficult to think of anything prominent they could scavenge for a second sequel. Anything large-scale would overshoot the paltry "Scary Movie" allowance. Of course, the idea of starving this particular franchise into an early grave is extremely appealing.
No stars
TITLE: "Scary Movie 2"
RATING: R (Frequent profanity and systematic comic vulgarity, emphasizing obscene sight gags; occasional simulations of outrageous sexual acts; fleeting allusions to drug use)
CREDITS: Directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans. Written by Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Alyson Fouse, Greg Grabianski, Dave Polsky, Michael Anthony Snowden and Craig Wayans.
RUNNING TIME: About 85 minutes

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