Plot: What’s it about?
Ah…”Scary Movie”, a series of films that pokes so much fun at the insane and mainstream Hollywood films that it’s really hard not to laugh at them. It’s hard to believe, actually, that these movies continue to be as fresh and original considering that the source material comes from overexposed movie stars and sub-standard flicks. Then again, it’s that irony that has made the “Scary Movie” franchise one of the more successful in recent years. For those not familiar with these movies, each one has its own taste. The original poked fun at movies like “The Sixth Sense” and “Scream” while subsequent releases highlighted films like “The Ring”, “Signs” and “8 Mile” just to name a few. Evidently this formula is working and somewhat of a copycat movie entitled “Date Movie” essentially does the same thing, only it pokes fun at romantic comedies instead of horror/science-fiction movies. Hmmm…wonder what’s next, “Documentary Movie”? Probably not. The most consistent thing about these movies is the star; Anna Farris is perhaps one of the best at the clueless, dead pan humor. I compare her with Leslie Nielsen, who makes a cameo in this movie as the President of the United States. But enough about all of that.
“Scary Movie 4” starts out just as the others do, with a parody from another successful movie. We find basketball star Shaquille O’Neal locked in a room with none other than Dr. Phil (both playing themselves) in a take off on “Saw”, it’s then that we get the gist of the movie. In a nutshell, Cindy (Anna Farris) finds out that the house she lives in is haunted by a child (think “The Grudge”) and wants to find out who killed him and why. She takes an immediate interest in Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko – playing his best Tom Cruise) whose trying to rebuild his relationship with his kids. We then see that alien “Tri-Pods” are invading the world (think “War of the Worlds” and you won’t be lost) and they must save themselves in order to escape. I have to admit that my only problem with the “Scary Movie” series is that it’s a lot more entertaining if you’ve actually seen all the movies that it parodies, otherwise you’re kind of left out in the dark. There’s a funny “Brokeback Mountain” scene and if you just can’t get enough of Carmen Electra, well you’ll be treated to a funny little scene with her as well. For those that have seen the previous “Scary Movie” films, you’ll know what to expect here as “Scary Movie 4” serves up what its best at: parody.
Video: How does it look?
“Scary Movie 4” is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer that looks great. I seem to remember some of the other “Scary Movie” films being shown in a 2.35:1 format, but it’s not that big of a deal. For the most part the image is very clean and free of any compression artifacts, though I did notice a few instances of edge enhancement – more so than other new to DVD movies. Don’t let it take away from the viewing experience though, as the image is clean and nearly without error. Aside from a few errors mentioned, this looks great and I don’t think viewers will have anything to complain about.
Audio: How does it sound?
Along the same lines of the video is the audio presentation in a Dolby Digital 5.1 format, as expected it sounds great. Now unlike some of the films that this movie parodies, you won’t find “War of the Worlds” like sound, but the soundtrack for a comedy is usually on the lighter side. I found this to have a good mix of discrete surround effects mixed with the slapstick type of sound that we’ve come to expect from all of the “Scary Movie” series. Dialogue is crisp and clean and though it does have some low points, I was pleased with the way this sounded.
Supplements: What are the extras?
“Scary Movie 4” actually comes with a decent assortment of supplements starting out with a commentary track. David Zucker is a legend when it comes to directing slapstick comedies and this is a great track that shows how much fun they had making this movie. There are 15 deleted and extended scenes available with without commentary and this being the “Unrated” cut, there was evidently plenty more material to add in the movie. These scenes don’t really add a whole lot to the movie, but most are enjoyable nonetheless. Rounding out the supplements are five featuettes: “The Man Behind the Laughter – David Zucker”, “Zany, Spoof Humor – Zucker Style”, “The Visual Effects of Scary Movie 4”, “The Youngbloodz” and “Rappers & Actors”. A few of these are fluff, but the ones concentrating on Zucker are really interesting. We see his body of work and how he’s made comedy his life. I will note that this was the “Unrated” version reviewed here featuring about 7 more minutes of scenes not shown in theaters. I never saw the movie in theaters, so I don’t really know what was added but I didn’t find anything too offensive in this Unrated cut.