Scary Movie 3 (2003)

(In theaters, October 2003) The good news are that most of the the overly gross moments of the first two films of the series have been removed; what remains may not be too tasteful (decapitations, paedophilia and dismemberment are featured here and there) but at least it’s more palatable than before. Veteran spoof director David Zucker overuses slapstick over more amusing silliness (witness the “seven days” exchange), but Scary Movie 3 still feels a lot more respectable for it. Alas, the bad news are that the comedic highlights of the first two films have also been filed off, with an overall result that is a lot more tepid than it should be. The film floats from one grin to another, with few belly-laughs in between. The visual and cinematographic re-creation of the parodies (Signs, The Ring, 8 Mile, etc) is irreproachable, but the film often does next to nothing with the material it’s given. Leslie Nielsen, continues to be obnoxious with his usual shtick, though I wonder how many will get the joke of his last appearance in the film. All in all, a rather mixed effort that feels somewhat lazy. Not the bottom of the barrel (and certainly a step up from the past five year’s worth of spoof comedies), but still far away from the genre’s best efforts. Catch it on TV late at night.

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