"Scary Movie 5" comes up short in every way imaginable.
It's only 80 minutes long. These "Scary Movie" / "Disaster Movie" / "Epic Movie" satires always manage to be the briefest encounters in theaters.
Not that "brevity is the soul of wit," in this case. The broad swipes this sketch comedy takes at horror films such as "Mama," "Paranormal Activity" and "Evil Dead" (yes, it's that current), at reality TV, at "The Black Swan" and "Fifty Shades of Grey," at sci-fi films such as "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and at the real-life personae of Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen and Snoop Dogg, produce barely a single laugh.
It's a series of short sketches that don't end with a payoff, performed by actors who need a paycheck. Thus, Sheen and Lohan, and Ashley Tisdale and Jerry O'Connell, Darrell Hammond and Molly Shannon, all look for laughs that will at least make the outtakes reel.
Almost funny? Stoners Snoop Dogg and Mac Miller wander through Humboldt County in search of weed, when they see ... a cabin in the woods. Snoop urges them on, but Miller blurts out a warning. It's like something in that movie, "you know, the one with the cabin in the woods."
Like "Cabin in the Woods." Like "Evil Dead." Like "The Blair Witch Project." The longer the list goes on, the funnier the moment almost gets.
Ashley Tisdale and Simon Rex are the "Mama" couple who find themselves in custody of feral kids raised by a ghost. Katt Williams is the psychic they hire to cleanse their house.
"So a demon's the worst thing you can have?"
"No, an STD is the worst thing you can have."
The gents who wrote "5" got their start with "Airplane!," so they know how this is supposed to work. They just can't find a laugh behind most of the movie and pop-culture references.
But they found a decent Morgan Freeman impersonator ( Josh Robert Thompson). And they shoved in a few outtakes at the end that are slightly more amusing than the gags they actually included in "Scary Movie 5." Whatever the effects and the production values, these movies have been flailing, unfunny fiascoes since "Scary Movie 2" wasted 83 minutes of our time way back in 2001.
SCARY MOVIE 5
1 star (Grade: D-minus)
Cast: Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Erica Ash, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, written by David Zucker and Pat Proft. A Dimension release.
Running time: 1:20
MPAA rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language, some drug material, partial nudity, comic violence and gore
Photo/Video credit: The Weinstein Company