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SCARY MOVIE 4

SYNOPSIS:
When Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) moves into a haunted house in the suburbs, she and her next door neighbour Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko) find themselves at the frontline of an alien invasion. With the help of Cindy's friend, TV news reporter Brenda Meeks (Regina Hall), the two end up confronting not only aliens, but a grab-bag of horrors, including zombies, ghostly children, and eerie townsfolk - resulting in spoofs of Land of the Dead, The Grudge and The Village, amongst others.

Review by Lesley Chow:
Having director David Zucker (The Naked Gun) take on the latest Scary Movies has made the franchise slightly more watchable. By now, the hapless style of humour is old school: the inner groan is part of the joke, so any kind of sloppiness is hard to fault. Even so, this series of action spoofs is difficult to watch. Generally, the better scenes tend to involve a straight-faced, blundering figure (such as Leslie Nielsen); the worst feature actors like Regina Hall, who insist on responding to the comedy with smirks, or uncomprehending frowns.

However, the film benefits from having that affable big goof, Craig Bierko, alongside the younger actors. While he doesn't have quite the same level of skill, Bierko reminds me of Brendan Fraser: a classically trained theatre actor who moved to Hollywood, and now plays a big lunk breaking things (Fraser was at his best putting his fist through a whole cake in Monkeybone.) Bierko's brawn is matched by his amiability, and he often seems like an older cousin roped into children's games, who ends up rather liking them.

I was interested by the way the political skits were played. For instance, when the film sends up George W Bush hearing about the Twin Towers attacks, this incident is treated on the same level as any other: as if it was just a ubiquitous ad, or Tom Cruise jumping on a couch. It's simply an annoying bit of footage that was distributed to the world, and is available for parody. But if the aim was to keep the gags coming at all costs, it didn't work. It feels as if the guest stars (Shaquille O'Neal, Charlie Sheen) were booked in to do their lines per hour; even when the scene fell flat, the film had to use their first takes.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

SCARY MOVIE 4 (M)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Simon Rex, Leslie Nielsen, Kimani Ray Smith, Craig Bierko, Carmen Electra

PRODUCER: Craig Mazin, Robert K. Weiss

DIRECTOR: David Zucker

SCRIPT: Jim Abrahams, Craig Mazin, Pat Proft

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Thomas E. Eckerman

EDITOR: Stuart H. Pappe

MUSIC: James L. Venable

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Holger Gross

RUNNING TIME: 83 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 13, 2006







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