The Man Behind the Laugh (Director – David Zucker)
Zany, Spoof Humor – Zucker Style
Interviewer’s Worst Nightmare
The Visual Effects of Scary Movie 4
Rappers & Actors
Feature Commentary with the Filmmakers
“The Scary Movie gang is back for their funniest, most fearless installment yet, featuring an avalanche of hysterical celebrity cameos, including Carmen Electra, Charlie Sheen, Dr. Phil, Shaquille O’Neal, and Lil’ John, plus many more fun surprises! This time, the lovable, dim-witted Cindy (Anna Faris) and her overheated pal Brenda (Regina Hall) return to help clueless hero Tom (Craig Bierko) save the world from a ruthless alien invasion. In true Scary Movie tradition, the story weaves through a series of hilarious and twisted parodies of movies like War of the Worlds, The Grudge, The Village, and Saw. In Scary Movie 4, nothing – and we mean NOTHING – is off limits!”
“Scary Movie 4 – Unrated & Uncensored” is, well, unrated. The original was rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor throughout, some comic violence and language.
Director David Zucker of “Airplane!” and “Police Squad” fame certainly has found a Renaissance since being brought on board to revive the “Scary Movie” franchise after the disappointing sequel, appropriately dubbed “Scary Movie 2.” This time around, he has even better source material to work with, including Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds” and actual scary movie hits like “The Grudge” and “Saw.” (There are even a few deathtrap gags influenced by “Saw II” that are even more clever and well thought out than the originals.)
After an opening from the latter with Shaquille O’Neal and Dr. Phil chained up in a basement death trap, the movie follows a plot that ably creates a mash-up of “War of the Worlds” and “The Grudge” with a few brief side trips into other territory. For the third time, M. Night Shyamalan gets the “Scary Movie” treatment with a spoof of “The Village” which mainly relies on Chris Elliot playing a town idiot that’s even dumber than the one played by Adrian Brody. The spoofs seem to work better last time, maybe because a lot of the source material is so ludicrous that it’s to mock them just by playing them straight.
Anna Faris is even better her fourth time around, having gotten to the point where she has enough of a sense of comic timing to make even the dumbest gag work better with her reaction. Faris makes you realize how few really funny ladies there are in movies these days. Trying to keep up with her, Craig Bierko (“Cinderella Man”) hits one out of the park as a Tom Cruise knock-off, much like Simon Rex did in the previous movie. The romance between the two of them is kind of sweet, and it helps to pull together one of the stronger plots put together for a “Scary Movie.” It gets even funnier in the epilogue when Tom goes on the Oprah Show–played by Mad TV’s Debra Wilson–to talk about his new love. Although a lot of it was seen in the commercials, it’s even funnier in its extended form.
Likewise, Leslie Nielsen ups the ante for his second go-round as the President of the United States, telling ethnic jokes at “The Un” before unleashing an alien death ray that acts as an updated version of the “Naked Gun.” He also has a very funny scene in a classroom, which sends up the famed Bush scene from Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” both scenes showing that Nielsen is still at the top of his form after starring in many of Zucker’s films.
Easily the most welcome return is Anthony Anderson as the dreadlocked Mahalik, back with his talkative buddy Marvin, played by DeRay Davis. After a bit of banter about zombies, they get a bunch of easy laughs at the expense of “Brokeback Mountain.” (You have to assume that this stuff was added later, because there’s no way they could have known when production began that it would become such a huge phenomenon.)
The “Grudge” spoof offers some of the best laughs thanks to a few of the smaller roles including a very funny Henry Mah as Cindy’s boss; Garrett Masuda acting even creepier than the original “Grudge” kid; and Rorelee Tio gets put to all sorts of hilarious uses as the jawless Yoko. Also notable is Conchita Campbell, who NAILS Dakota Fanning’s irritating high-pitched squeal.
One of the funniest bits, though, is a spoof of “Million Dollar Baby” with Mike Tyson getting in on the action with a bit of self-deprecating humor that turns it into one of the few send-ups that gets funnier as it goes along.
Zucker is especially good with the more subtle visual humor that sneaks into every scene, but you have to be impressed with his ability to create some of the big budget visuals from “War of the Worlds,” probably at a fraction of the cost.
Although there are a lot of funny gags, there’s way too much bad physical humor–people getting hit in the head repeatedly for laughs–and even more gross-out bathroom humor, which really takes away from the sharp verbal and visual satire. It doesn’t take long for this type of comedy to get played-out and get tedious, with the lowest point being Carmen Electra having a noisy bowel movement trying to get laughs. It’s a shame that all of the more clever bits tend to get bogged down with obvious laughs included to try to reach the brainless masses.
If you’re a child, an old person or disabled, you’re not going to get through a “Scary Movie” unscathed, because just as in the last movie, they’re basically used as fodder for the physical humor, getting beaten up at every possible turn.
A lot of the funniest gags are given away in the commercials and trailer, and they aren’t nearly funny when you’re expecting them.
Enough with the Michael Jackson jokes already! It was funny in “Scary Movie 3,” now it’s just blatant.
There’s no explanation how Regina Hall’s character Brenda Meeks is back after being killed in the previous movie, but most of the humor surrounding her character involves her basically being a slut, which is kind of a waste. Michael Madsen (“Kill Bill”) is also pretty much wasted playing the Tim Robbins character from “War of the Worlds.”
It’s a bit confusing when Bill Pullman shows up in the spoof of “The Village” after actually appearing in “The Grudge.” His character from that movie is played by Charlie Sheen in an only mildly amusing opening scene that features a cameo by Hugh Hefner’s three blonde girlfriends.
15 Deleted and Extended Scenes with Commentary – The deleted scenes vary from the extremely minor to the noteworthy. One scene features a death scene at the end for Regina Hall who is crushed by a dropped container. Another alternate scene shows the invading ‘Tripod’ dropping large earphones down on people and cars. Other more minor scenes show Bill Pullman in a modern bachelor pad in “The Village,” Cindy chatting in the nursing office, and other brief moments.
Bloopers – This is your standard blooper reel featuring flubbed lines, laughs during takes, and improvised dialogue. There’s more of Dr. Phil, some of the rappers, and other guest stars. Cloris Leachman even moons the camera.
The Man Behind the Laugh (Director – David Zucker) – This brief featurette highlights Zucker and his unique laugh. The cast and crew talk about the director and his sense of humor.
Zany, Spoof Humor – Zucker Style – This featurette discusses Zucker-style humor. They talk about some of the humor rules that he enforces such as the fact that they can’t have two jokes on the screen at the same time.
Interviewer’s Worst Nightmare – In this video you see the cast giving the interviewer a hard time by making jokes, dodging questions, and generally being funny.
The Visual Effects of Scary Movie 4 – The title of this one is self explanatory. They show the impressive Tripods, the butt shaped cloud, and other special effects in the film. They even go into detail about a feather that flies out of Leslie Nielsen’s mouth.
The Youngbloodz – This featurette highlights the brief cameo appearance by the rap stars in the film.
Rappers & Actors – And this video features all the other rappers that make cameos in the film, and there are a lot of them.
Feature Commentary with the Filmmakers – Zucker and his producers provide an interesting commentary. They discuss the origin of some of the jokes, the cast, tales from the set, and other bits of trivia.
The Bottom Line: