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David Zucker
Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Marny Eng, Charlie Sheen, Simon Rex, Jianna Ballard, Jeremy Piven, Anna Faris, Darrell Hammond, Anthony Anderson, Simon Cowell, Eddie Griffin
Writing Credits:
Craig Mazin, Pat Proft

Great Trilogies Come In Threes.

In the third installment of the Scary Movie franchise, Cindy has to investigate mysterious crop circles and video tapes, and help the President in preventing an alien invasion.

Box Office:
$45 million.
Opening Weekend
$48.113 million on 3505 screens.
Domestic Gross
$110.000 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 5/11/2004

• Audio Commentary With Director David Zucker, Producer Robert K. Weiss, and Writers Craig Mazin and Pat Proft
• Extended and Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• “Making Scary Movie 3
• “Making Scary Movie 3... FOR REAL”
• Outtakes and Bloopers
• “Behind the Scenes of the Alternate Ending”
• Sneak Peeks


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Scary Movie 3 (2003)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 27, 2004)

Sample line from my review of 2000’s Scary Movie: “It seemed absolutely interminable as one tacky, unfunny gag followed another until I hoped a masked maniac would slaughter me.” Sample line from my review of 2001’s Scary Movie 2: “It felt like a pretty lousy piece as a whole. Its positives were minor, while its negatives seemed large.”

With those experiences as a backdrop, did I anticipate that I’d actually enjoy 2003’s Scary Movie 3? Not really, but hope springs eternal.

Scary launches with a prologue in which silicone-enhanced babes Becca (Pamela Anderson) and Kate (Jenny McCarthy) watch TV. This introduces the concept of a videotape that kills; everyone who watches it dies within seven days, and Kate buys it at the start of the film.

We never see Becca again, as the movie quickly shifts to rural Virginia and the farm of estranged minister Tom Logan (Charlie Sheen). Aliens leave a message in his cornfield that reads “Attack Here”. Tom’s younger brother George (Simon Rex) wants to be a rapper so he heads to Washington DC to enter a rap battle.

When he gets there, he runs into Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris). One of two characters to carry over from prior Scary flicks, she now works as a news anchor for a DC station, and she wants to follow the crop circles story. She met George when she investigated it on the farm, and the two show some romantic glimmerings.

Cindy cares for her nephew Cody (Drew Mikuska). He has pre-cognitive visions and seems generally creepy. Cindy’s friend Brenda (Regina Hall) – the other carryover from prior movies - runs a day care center and also watches the deadly videotape. Not exactly heavy on plot, the rest of Scary follows the threads connected to the videotape, the aliens and the crop circles, as all of them sort of tie together in the end.

While still a spoof, Scary Movie 3 somewhat differs from its two predecessors because it boasts a different team behind him. Instead of the Wayans brothers, here we find David Zucker at the helm. Zucker brings with him much experience in comedy, with hits like Airplane and Ruthless People on his résumé.

Does Zucker’s presence alter the equation? Yes, to a moderate degree. The first two focused heavily on rampantly offensive humor, as they targeted many different groups in a nasty way. It also poured on crude sexual bits and other elements of unpleasantness.

Both of the first two flick boasted “R” ratings, while Scary Movie 3 goes for a slightly more gentle “PG-13”. This means pubic hair gags get the boot, while ones about looking up skirts appear. I don’t know if this came as an edict from the suits at Dimension to allow more young viewers to see it or if it’s due to a difference between the comedic philosophies of Zucker and the Wayans, but this flick does seem noticeably less offensive than its predecessors.

Within reason, at least. Instead of crude sex-related gags, Scary Movie 3 accentuates violent humor. Any body part that can be hit will be hit. This elevates to ridiculous levels and leaves me with the feeling that the filmmakers resorted to slapstick when they couldn’t think of anything better to do. Given that a surprising amount of the violence falls upon the Cody character, the decision seems even more problematic; I’m not excessively politically correct, but I don’t know if I care for a flick that inflicts so much violence – cartoon or not – on a kid.

When the movie doesn’t whack around people, it concentrates on body parts or bodily functions. This means lots of vomit/urine/defecation gags as well as many connected to breasts/penises/testicles. The difference between Scary Movie 3 and the prior flicks comes from how it examines these areas. The first two did so in a graphic manner, whereas this one seems lighter. It’s the difference between referring to breasts as “tits” or “boobs”; the first is the harsher phrase and fits the first two flicks, while the second is more appropriate for the third movie.

Not that much of this stuff adds up to actual laughs. All three movies in the series take the “throw it at the wall” approach to humor. They toss it any gag they can conjure and hope some of them cling. Actually, during the early parts of the movie, a few of them seem almost sort of amusing. The pairing of Playboy icons Anderson and McCarthy provides some minor chuckles, even though I wonder when Pam totally lost any resemblance to an actual human being. I still think Regina Hall’s Brenda is the best thing about the series, as she parodies the sassy black woman character nicely.

Unfortunately, the meandering story causes problems. Scary tosses in random elements from other movies, but its main focus remains a mix of The Ring and Signs. Sometimes it takes rather literally from its sources, such as a parody of the Signs scene in which the wife of Mel Gibson’s character dies. This seems like lazy comedy and it doesn’t work, especially in regard to that sequence; the filmmakers copy the segment so closely that the combination of tragedy and comedy don’t integrate.

Mostly the plots just feel like they meander and don’t really coalesce. Granted, no one sees this kind of movie for a tight storyline, but Scary could have become less rambling than this. The ending ties things together but not in a way that we really buy.

One other problem stems from the fact the filmmakers never quite know how to quit. They extend many of the gags well beyond the point of effectiveness. Even ones that have some potential often continue past their expiration date, and that renders them less enjoyable.

Ultimately, Scary Movie 3 tosses out enough manic humor that it inspires an occasional chuckle. Unfortunately, it quickly hits a wall and just repeats the same form of gags over and over with little inspiration or creativity. It’s another tedious exercise in cheap humor.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Scary Movie 3 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Although Scary mostly looked fine, it fell a bit short of the “terrific” level.

Sharpness was decent to good. Some shots came across as a little loose, but much of the movie seemed pretty distinctive and accurate. I saw no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, but some light edge enhancement cropped up at times. A speck or two appeared, but otherwise the image lacked print flaws. However, some artifacting appeared during parts of the movie.

The colors worked fine. They lacked any runniness or bleeding and seemed positive across the board. The various hues were tight and bold. Black levels appeared nicely dense and deep, while low-light shots offered good clarity and definition. Ultimately, Scary presented a fairly satisfying image.

While much of Scary Movie 3’s Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounded great, it lacked the scope to earn a high grade. The soundfield remained quite limited through most of the movie. Elements remained mostly anchored in the front speakers. Music managed to get decent reinforcement from the rear, and an occasional effect cropped up back there, but not more than on a few minor occasions.

Otherwise, however, the fronts heavily dominated. They offered good localization and movement, though. The forward speakers presented a fairly natural soundfield, but it still wasn’t terribly involving.

At least audio quality seemed terrific. Dialogue always sounded natural and distinctive, and I noticed no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded accurate and life-like. Music fared quite well. From the score to the rap or pop/rock songs, these all seemed vivid and lively, with clear highs and nice bass. Across the board, low-end response was firm and rich. Overall, Scary lost points due to its lack of ambition, but it sounded good enough to earn a “B”.

When we move to the DVD’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from director David Zucker, producer Robert K. Weiss, and writers Craig Mazin and Pat Proft. All four men sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. Although it presents a rollicking and wisecracking tone, it doesn’t offer a great deal of information. The majority of the notes deal with alterations made to originally scripted or shot footage. We hear a lot about deleted scenes as well as changes made for ratings concerns. Though the participants gleefully tell us when things didn’t work, the commentary still suffers from an excess of praise for the flick; they happily relate how terrific they feel much of it is. The guys remain glib and impudent enough to make the track generally entertaining, but it doesn’t provide a great look at the movie.

Up next we find 10 deleted and extended scenes. When viewed via the “Play All” option, these fill a total of 27 minutes and two seconds. The bulk of the material comes from the alternate ending; this takes a whopping 15 minutes, 28 seconds alone! Unsurprisingly, it offers the biggest component here, as it gets into elements related to The Hulk and the Matrix sequels. The various clips seem to have mostly been omitted for time, as they come across as neither better nor worse than the material in the final flick.

The deleted and extended scenes can be viewed with or without commentary from the four guys who chatted during the main film. They present the same flippant tone, but it works less well here. They tell us little about the scenes or why they cut them. Instead, they mostly just complain about the clips and tell us they’re terrible. Granted, we already learn a lot of this during the main commentary, but this nonetheless comes across as a pretty pointless track since it doesn’t have much information in it.

Making Scary Movie 3 runs 23 minutes and 19 seconds. We find the normal collection of movie snippets, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from producer Bob Weiss, director David Zucker, actors Jenny McCarthy, Anna Faris, Kevin Hart, Eddie Griffin, Simon Rex, Queen Latifah, Jianna Ballard, Fat Joe, DL Hughley, Ja Rule, Master P, Redman, Method Man, Macy Gray, Charlie Sheen, and Leslie Nielsen. They chat about production values, constant changes to the script, the cast and their work on the film, Zucker’s style, and the film’s humor. The cast subjects heavily dominate the program, as we hear some minor notes about their development but mostly get comments about how wonderful they all were. Some of the material from the set seems intriguing, but the show mainly seems fluffy and insubstantial.

Next we get another program called Making Scary Movie 3... FOR REAL. It lasts four minutes, 53 seconds as it goes over some general things in a nutty way. It uses the same format as the prior program and includes comments from actor Regina Hall, Anna Faris, Bob Weiss, Darrell Hammond, Simon Rex, DL Hughley, actor Camryn Manheim, David Zucker, and Anthony Anderson. Mostly we see nuttiness from the set and comedic asides from the participants. It doesn’t tell us much, but some of the shots from the set offer a bit of fun.

In the Outtakes and Bloopers area we see three minutes, 58 seconds of footage. Mostly this offered the usual collection of goofs and wackiness. However, some minor deleted scenes pop up as well, which makes the set more interesting than normal.

We take a look Behind the Scenes of the Alternate Ending in the next segment. This four-minute and eight second piece examines “Hulk vs. Aliens”. It uses the standard format and we get remarks from Zucker, Weiss, visual effects supervisor Stuart Robertson, makeup effects creators Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis. They discuss the look of the aliens as well as the costumes, visual effects, and execution of the elements. It’s a pretty tight little examination of the subjects.

Within the Sneak Peeks area, we find a mix of ads. We get trailers for all three DVD sets of The Osbournes plus a general promo for Dimension Home Video.

Despite the arrival of a new creative team behind Scary Movie 3, don’t expect superior results. The movie tames things a little but remains generally crude and unfunny. The DVD presents reasonably positive picture and audio plus a pretty solid set of extras as well. The disc should please fans, but I can’t recommend it to anyone else.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.7708 Stars Number of Votes: 48
9 3:
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