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, at reality TV, at 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.
Tisdale and Simon Rex are the Mama couple who find themselves with 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.
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 * (out of four stars)
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee. With Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Erica Ash, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan. Distributed by the Weinstein Co.
Running time: 1 hour, 20 mins.
Parents' guide: PG-13 (crude and sexual content, profanity, drug use, partial nudity, comic violence, and gore)
Playing at: area theaters