A moment of movie history: Perhaps the greatest spoof film of all time was 1980’s “Airplane!” which mocked a trope of a previous decade (1970s disaster movies) by parodying a 23-year-old movie (1957’s “Zero Hour!”).
By contrast, “Scary Movie V” goofs on “Mama,” which was released 12 weeks ago. And the remake of “Evil Dead”…which came out last week. Thirty-three years later, we’re still quoting “Airplane!” whereas almost no one is going to remember “Scary Movie V” after, oh, Monday.
Given the steady decline of the sequels, it’s easy to forget that the first “Scary Movie,” released in 2000, was a mostly funny parody of “Scream” mixed in with lots of outrageous sight gags and random spoofy moments. This fifth entry, however, reeks of desperation, with anything and everything thrown at the wall and almost none of it sticking.
It’s a movie where stop-motion vacuum cleaners and model train tunnels get the few big laughs there are to be had, but these objects, sadly, take second billing to the human cast. “Scary Movie V” opens with Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan; in happier times, these performers got laughs by earning them rather than exploiting their own personal tragedies for no comic payoff.
Charlie’s missing children turn out to be living in a cabin in the woods as feral creatures, leading to their adoption by Charlie’s brother Dan (Simon Rex) and his wife Jody (Ashley Tisdale), and they…
Seriously, do you even care? The movie exists as a framework on which to hang obvious jokes about “Mama,” “Evil Dead,” “Paranormal Activity 4,” “Black Swan,” “The Help,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Inception,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and so on, ad infinitum.
Despite a screenplay credited to comedy veterans David Zucker (one of the brains behind “Airplane!”) and Pat Proft (as the saying goes, head to his IMDB page but pack a lunch first), these gags generally revolve around racism (the Mexican maid swings at a piñata in her sleep), sexism, size-ism and the shock of watching two inappropriate combatants (an adult and a child, an adult male and an older woman, etc.) get into a fistfight.
Not that humor can’t be found in fistfights and stereotypes, but in “Scary Movie V,” humor can’t be found at all. Anywhere. The biggest laughs come from animated vacuum cleaners in a scene that’s over all too quickly. This is the sort of movie where you feel bad for Sheen and Lohan, because they hadn’t actually hit rock bottom until they agreed to appear in it.