After the first two "Scary Movies", the Wayans Brothers departed, taking with them the R-rated, raunchy humor of the first two films. They were replaced with "Naked Gun" director David Zucker and writer Pat Proft. The third film's PG-13 rating moved aside the toilet humor and brought in the well-timed slapstick the "Gun" director has become so famous for. The result is a movie that's funny, if not consistently so.
Once again, the film is a series of spoofs of recent movies. This time, "Signs", "The 6th Sense", "The Ring", "The Matrix" (briefly) and "8 Mile" (briefly), "The Others" (briefly) are the targets. There's nothing much in the way of plot - once again Cindy (Anna Faris) returns, this time as a television reporter who thinks that a mysterious videotape that supposedly results in death after seven days ("Not seven business days.") is connected to crop circles with very direct instructions that have appeared at the farm of Tom Logan (Charlie Sheen). Meanwhile, she finds herself taking care of her creepy little nephew, Cody (Drew Mituska), who has rather mean-spirited visions about most people who come in contact with him.
Again, the film's gags are mostly slapstick, with some working better than others. One bit, with Tom's farmer brother George (Simon Rex) wanting to become a rapper, is the film's funniest bit. The sequence is a well-timed parody of "8 Mile", complete with a sorta-funny cameo ("American Idol"'s Simon Cowell) and a couple of well-done raps. The running gag that Cody keeps getting hit - hard - by cars, basketballs and even a fan - isn't that funny in theory, but it's generally well-handled and gets cheap, lowbrow chuckles.
Still, while some bits hit well, others flop. The opening sequence with Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy (playing off the opening scene of "The Ring") is played too far into wink-wink, nudge-nudge territory. "The Matrix" was better spoofed at the MTV movie awards last year - Will Farrell's take on " Matrix Reloaded"'s "The Architect" character was considerably funnier than George Carlin's here. "The Others" bit with Michael Jackson seems like "Mad TV" on a really bad day.
The performers are largely up to the task. I've always liked Farris's wide-eyed comic sensibilities and she's funny once again here, if not featured quite as prominently as she was in the prior films. Sheen has a few hilarious moments, as well. Leslie Neilsen is a little too over-the-top as the president, though. Although this third outing in the series wasn't quite as well-recieved, there's already a fourth in the works.
Note: This is the "uncut" edition, which runs 85 minutes. The other cut of the movie that was on the first DVD has a listed running time of...85 minutes. There's a couple of amusing little gags into the movie, but the additions here are really pretty minor.
VIDEO: "Scary Movie 3" is presented by Dimension in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is generally good, although there were a few moments when some slight compression artifacts entered in, as well as some minimal edge enhancement. Sharpness and detail were fine enough, although I was never really impressed with the level of definition in the image. Colors remained bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults. Overall, a somewhat above-average presentation.
SOUND: "Scary Movie 3" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The only moment that really puts the surrounds to good use is the "8 Mile" parody, where the beats are reinforced by the rear speakers. The score also gets some reinforcement from the surrounds, but their use is otherwise pretty minor. Audio quality was good, with clean and clean dialogue. Considering the material, this was fine.
EXTRAS: Director David Zucker, writers Pat Proft and Craig Mazin and producer Robert Weiss provide a hilarious audio commentary ripping into their own picture, making fun of some of the bits that they included and didn't include. This is a new commentary for the movie and it's actually quite funny, as the bunch still manage to have a great time talking throughout the movie. They also point out new footage/dialogue and chat about dealing with MPAA issues.
Also new on this edition are six deleted scenes that were not offered on the prior disc. They aren't great, but I actually found a scene parodying the ferry sequence with the horse in "The Ring" quite funny. There are also 8 deleted clips carried over from the first disc.
The remaining stuff is carried over from the original release: "Hulk Vs. Aliens: The Alternate Ending" is part "making of" and part deleted scene, as we learn more about the design of the alien costumes, the look of the creatures and hear about the alternate ending that's included elsewhere. "Making Scary Movie 3" and "Making Scary Movie 3...For Real" are two "making of" docs that seem as if they were done a little more with the DVD in mind, as they are not terribly promotional and include some quite nice behind-the-scenes clips.
10 deleted scenes are offered with commentary. While some of these scenes were funny, I laughed hardest at some of the material included in the extended version of the "8 Mile" parody (which includes a lot more Simon Cowell). One of the scenes is the alternate ending discussed on the featurette. Finally, there's a few minutes of outtakes included.
Final Thoughts: "Scary Movie 3.5" isn't much different than the original cut of the film, and although the new bonus features are fun, they aren't worth another purchase of the film for those who bought the original DVD. However, for those who haven't bought the movie yet and are interested, this is the edition to go for.