Thank God comedy is subjective. For all you Scary Movie fans I'll say this- I didn't really like the first one, and I certainly didn't like this one. So, if you enjoy it, you wont care what I think, and you can just skip down to the DVD Quality bit and see if Buena Vista/Disney/Dimension did a good job on the DVD transfer. For the rest of you who care... Here goes the rant...
The plot- if you can call it that- has most of the members from the first film (Shawn and Marlon Wayans, Regina Hall, and Anna Faris) returning and taking part in a research study by two shady paranormal researchers (Tim Curry and Mr Show's David Cross) in a haunted house containing a twisted man servant/caretaker (Chris "Cabin Boy" Elliot)
Scary Movie 2 was conceived, written (barely, by 7-9 writers!), produced, cast, directed, and released into theaters within the span of a single year... Boy, does it show... Supposedly the premise this time out is to spoof the haunted house/supernatural themed horror films, and the Wayans Brothers claim to have watched 160 films in preparation for their parody. Well, they wasted their time. Aside from comic bits lampooning The Exorcist, The Entity, Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, The Haunting, House on Haunted Hill, 13 Ghosts and such, apparently they felt the need or couldn't find enough things to parody in 160 horror themed films, so they threw in gags about Hannibal, Charlie's Angels, Dude Wheres My Car?, Raging Bull, and Mission Impossible 2. Its fine to want to cover a lot of ground but the stray in lampooning and the low quality of the jokes just makes the non-supernatural parodies look like they were lazy and thrown in so they could get butts in the theater. Their faith in the general concept wasn't good, they had no clear plan, obviously improvising a lot , and throwing in new parodies as they went along, a slapdash affair. In other words, their motivation wasn't, "Hey, I've got a funny idea." it was "The first one made lots of money, so lets crank out another one.". Unfunny gags are repeated/worn into the ground (for instance, Chris Elliot's creepy deformed hand, and David Cross' wheelchair bound researcher who refuses to be pitied), the direction is awkward, and time is wasted, unless all you want are a few chuckles and some big groans.
Look, here is my real problem with Scary Movie 2. When it comes time to make a joke, the Wayans Brothers sit back, they reach into their comedy bag and all they can come up with is adolescent vulgarity and general body humor. Crude humor is fine by me, but when it is all you can come up with it gets old really quick. Hey, lets parody The Exorcist- okay we'll play out the dinner party peeing bit and the pea soup barfing. Lets parody Amityville- okay we'll make the fly attack on the priest be because he's constipated. Lets parody The Entity and Poltergeist rape sequence- okay this time the girl getting attacked likes it. When I think of good parody films like Blazing Saddles, Airplane, Young Frankenstien, and Spinal Tap, the general humor goes all over the place with puns, idiotic pratfalls, obscure references, general silliness, and crude humor, but all the Wayans seem to have is gross-out gags. And, unlike South Park, which uses gross/offensive humor with wit, the Wayans just use crude humor in the most Neanderthal, "bodily fluids are funny" kind of way.
I guess what the biggest shame is that one of the best parody films ever made was Keenan Ivory Wayans I'm Gonna' Get You Sucka', a film that hilariously parodied the black exploitation films of the 70's and had the intelligence to touch on the fact that at the same time those films elevated the black community, giving the community something identifiable, the films also perpetuated stereotypes. So, its just heart wrenching to see the same person turn out this pointless, asinine kind of comedy.
Well, I will at least give Scary Movie 2 credit for making me really laugh at one joke. In a play on the old bit where our heroine looks just like a woman in an old painting (and the woman in the old portrait always has some connection to the evil around, usually being the evils former lover). They observe the painting and say,
"Oh my God, she looks just like you."
"You think so? She's beautiful."
"Well, actually her hair doesn't have as many split ends as yours, and her skin isn't as oily as yours either... Also, sometimes your eyes get really squinty and you look like you might have Downs Syndrome or something... But, other than that, the resemblance is uncanny."
DVD Quality: Buena Vista gives fans of this sort of thing a nice DVD with some okay extras and good picture and sound. Animated menus feature a CGI parrot from the film, which, of course, is crude, saying such things as, on the subtitle options screen, "Sorry we dont have sign language".
Picture- Widscreen, 16X9 enhanced, showing good contrast, color, and sharpness. No complaints, but its not a strong showcase of cinema in the first place.
Sound- Good, standard Dolby Digital 5.1, English and French audio tracks with optional English or Spanish subtitles.
Extras- 19 Chapters- Dimension Films preview trailers- A few behind the Scenes featurettes: a main one (lasting 8 mins), a special fx tour (6 mins), cat puppet fx (1 ½ mins), "scary" fx (2 mins), and makeup fx (4 mins).- Still Gallery- DVD Rom Features, from weblinks, screenplay viewer, character profiles, and a trivia game.- And, finally Deleted Scenes, 22 in total, including 3 Alternate endings. Most of the deleted material you can see why they left it out, quite a few are scenes of Tori Spellings character, and by far the funniest (to me) were the two with David Cross' crippled researcher character, one of him zooming into the college parking lot and another in a classroom passing out directions to the haunted house.
So, if you like the film, by all means buy the DVD. The rest of you, rent it first or avoid it entirely and sit down with Naked Gun, Blazing Saddles, I'm Gonna' Get You Sucka'...or even Student Bodies.