Charlie Sheen and Leslie Nielsen are just two of the usual suspects rounded up for horror movie spoof Scary Movie 3. The humour in David Zucker's comedy is broader than Bernard Manning and, unfortunately, no less subtle. Although fans of the first two movies in the franchise won't be disappointed by this scattershot offering, anyone expecting a comedy in the class of Airplane! will be left with their sides firmly intact.
Stripmining The Ring and Signs for all they're worth (that's right, the M Night Shyamalan movie isn't actually a comedy), Scary Movie 3 showcases the deadpan comic timing of Anna Faris. She's Cindy Campbell, an intrepid TV reporter investigating the link between crop circles at a farm and a mysterious videotape which promises to kill anyone who views it seven days later (not including public holidays).
"RUN OUT OF HORROR MOVIES"
As the plots of Signs and The Ring are shamelessly welded together, the big laughs come from other sources, both filmic and topical: an 8 Mile white rapper pastiche; the numerous Matrix mickey-takes; the Catholic priest as amorous babysitter; the dangling of Michael Jackson from a window (well, not the real Michael Jackson - that'll probably have to wait until the mob catches up with him). The funny moments have nothing to do with horror movies because, simply, Scary Movie 3 has run out of good horror movies to ridicule.
The laughs here are more juvenile than a school uniform - wobbling breasts can get a laugh once, but five times? - and the only thing more worn than the humour is a tired-looking Nielsen. The long gaps between the handful of genuine laugh-out-loud moments ensure that most people will find the thought of Scary Movie 4 a very frightening prospect indeed.