There are lots of ways to churn out sequels, particularly comedies. You can speed along like a runaway train to capitalize on a surprise hit -- Miramax rushed Scary Movie 2 into theaters one year after the original's release -- or you can reset and go for broke. The latter approach seems to be the Scary Movie 3 motive, with new writers and veteran parody director David Zucker (Airplane!, The Naked Gun) joining the fray. For its efforts, Miramax gets a perfectly average movie, with fresh moments, lame retreads, and more opportunity for big box office.
Scary Movie 3 sticks with the program: mind-bogglingly dumb characters hustle their way through spoofs of the industry's most popular recent films. It's no mistake that the roasted movies -- in this case: Signs, The Ring, and 8 Mile -- all pull in huge money and attract a young audience.
That demographic gets plenty to laugh at during the film's winking intro. Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Anderson play two blond dimwits, mocking the open to The Ring while joking about their real-life infamy, and um, enormous boobs. In true Airplane! style, Zucker gives us a long look at Pam's ample set, giving Russ Meyer a run for his D-cup-per-minute money.
The goofy playfulness continues as Charlie Sheen and Simon Rex take a stab at Signs, playing a familiar pair of farmer brothers. When the pair admits that their dogs are "acting strange," Zucker gives us the single funniest visual of the movie, a throwback to some of the most absurd and creative moments of his memorable parodies. While Scary Movie 3 has its amusing moments, the movie never nails it that well again.
Zucker and the writing team (including Kevin Smith and the prolific Pat Proft) do their best to balance the giggles between dialogue and slapstick, with both used to fine effect during a rap showdown sequence. Too often, though, the movie leans on the physical stuff too hard -- so hard that fighting becomes the mode of humor. Queen Latifah gets into it with the spooky chick from the The Ring, as do a few other stars in the film's incredibly thin 78 minutes. It gets a little old. Zucker may be a semi-legend, but he hasn't directed a parody in 12 years, and he gave us My Boss's Daughter.
Scary Movie 3 does push through, and often succeeds, thanks to the silly energy of its cast. Anna Faris leads the charge (she's been in all three movies) as the perfectly ditzy know-nothing, Simon Rex is a charming numbskull, and dependable Leslie Nielsen shows up to play the President. Zucker even throws him a famous line from Airplane!, pleasing those of us that have seen that classic too many times.
Months (weeks?) from now, Scary Movie 3 will make for great group viewing at home, but considering it worthy of a full-price ticket may be a stretch. You may, instead, want to bone up on other films in order to get all the jokes in Scary Movie 4. Or you can enjoy what you get, knowing that many of us laugh every time some poor idiot gets kicked in the nuts.
On the (3.0) DVD you get an alternate ending (let's just say it involves Simon Rex and an overgrown green guy), half an hour of deleted scenes, outtakes, and a handful of making-of bits. A feature-length commentary from Zucker and crew rounds out an excellent disc. The 3.5 DVD offers more of the same, only raunchier.