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Dimension Films presents
Scary Movie 3.5 (2003)

"I just want to tell you both good luck, we're all counting on you."
- President Harris (Leslie Nielsen)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: September 20, 2005

Stars: Anna Faris, Anthony Anderson, Leslie Nielsen, Camryn Manheim, Simon Rex, George Carlin, D.L. Hughley
Other Stars: Queen Latifah, Eddie Griffin, Denise Richards, Regina Hall, Charlie Sheen
Director: David Zucker

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult language, sexual situations)
Run Time: 01h:25m:16s
Release Date: September 20, 2005
UPC: 786936286953
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- D+A-B- B+

DVD Review

The golden age of the film parody, basically encompassing the 1980s and early '90s, has long been dead. Judging from the likes of the Scary Movie films, and anything else from the Wayans Brothers, there's not going to be any sort of revival, at least as far as quality goes. The days of classics like Airplane!, The Naked Gun, and even the underrated Top Secret! and Hot Shots! are long gone, as these benchmarks apparently set the bar too high for later films to reach.

Since the release of the second Hot Shots! movie, we've had nothing but creative duds, including all three of the Scary Movie films, the first two of which the Wayans were responsible for. They struck box-office gold, taking in over $200 million together. Then along came Scary Movie 3 in 2003, which proved that the genre and this franchise in particular had plenty of life, since it went on to do over $120 million. However, even with parody filmmaking pioneer David Zucker (part of the team and director of many of the '80s and '90s films mentioned above) at the reigns, that last entry was no funnier than the others.

Most of the problems lie in the fact that the gags are way too obvious, and frankly, not at all funny. As this is now the age of gross-out, juvenile humor, there isn't a bit of wit behind these jokes, with the filmmakers instead opting to throw fart noises and useless, disgusting images at us as often as possible. The actors, not exactly top quality to begin with, don't have much to offer either, making unnatural facial gestures, and just seeming always to struggle with the delivery of the simplest laughs. It's all in the comedic timing, and Scary Movie 3.5 just can't deliver the goods like Airplane! could.

While many of the gags are hardly linear, there is still a basic plot involving the heroine from the first two films, Cindy Campbell (Anna Farris). This time, she has a son who is a cross between the kid from The Sixth Sense and The Ring, with both of those films being mocked liberally. Basically following the general storyline of the latter, the Naomi Watts-starrer, Scary Movie 3.5 follows Cindy's attempts to save her son from the tape's curse, but no sooner are we spending time with them then we jump to other storylines, including a Signs spoof with a farmer (Charlie Sheen) and his brother (Simon Rex) battling aliens; that same brother emulating Eminem in 8 Mile; and Cindy's visit to a pair of castoffs from The Matrix films.

The pre-credit sequence, which spoofs The Ring's opening (featuring Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy in a nice bit of self-mockery), gets the film off to a great start, providing laugh after laugh—that is, until the main titles begin. It's all downhill from there, with only a few funny bits (including the Signs knock-off) allowing us to laugh a few times, which is far from enough for a supposed all-out comedy like this. The Hulk bit (part of the alternate ending found in the extras section) is throwaway fluff, complete with a terribly rendered green hero, and the Michael Jackson/The Others segment is just difficult to watch.

There are a ton of cameo appearances, most of which are hit-and-miss, but it was nice to see Leslie Nielsen spoofing his own famous Airplane! character. Maybe he does still have a bit of comedy gas left in the tank after the disastrous Dracula, Dead and Loving It. He's not quite in Frank Drebin form, but he's a lot more fun to watch than the likes of Queen Latifah, Eddie Griffin, Anthony Anderson, and Sheen's real-life wife, Denise Richards.

I guess it's no surprise that Scary Movie 4 is currently on the slate for a 2006 theatrical release. Once that's out of the way, though, Zucker just might be going back to his Airplane! roots with another 2006 film, Superhero! Perhaps the "!" in the title gives us hope.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation seems to be the same as the old transfer, but that's a good thing. The images are clean and nicely detailed, with sharpness being a constant throughout the film. The colors are energetic and vivid, exactly what you'd expect from a big-budget theatrical film on DVD. There's no dirt, grain, or edge enhancement, making the film a visual treat.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
English, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1, and makes very spare use of the surrounds, which do make a cameo during the 8 Mile spoof. There's some bass during this sequence as well, but, overall, this is a rather unspectacular track that mirrors that of the earlier DVD.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Mindhunters, Hellraiser: Hellworld, Hellraiser: Deader, The Prophecy, Dracula III: Legacy, The Crow: Wicked Prayer
14 Deleted Scenes
1 Alternate Endings
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director David Zucker, producer Robert K. Weiss, writers Craig Mazin, and Pat Proft
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Outtakes and Bloopers
Extras Review: The batch of extras here doesn't differ much from the original DVD. One of the new supplements is an audio commentary featuring director David Zucker, producer Robert K. Weiss, and writers Pat Proft and Craig Mazin. This is actually funnier than the film itself, as this brain trust mostly makes fun of their own movie.

There's also some six deleted and extended scenes, also new to this edition. It's nice to see this new footage even though it doesn't add a whole lot to the finished film.

The rest of these extras have been seen before, including the documentary, Making Scary Movie 3. This 23-minute piece is a comprehensive look at the making of the film, mixing interview footage with a look at the shoot.

A pair of featurettes is also included, with Making Scary Movie 3 for Real running almost five minutes and, basically, a shorter version of the documentary, and Hulk vs. Aliens: Behind the Scenes of the Alternate Ending, which runs about four-minutes.

There's also a collection of Sneak Peeks, four minutes of Outtakes and Bloopers, and the 15-minute Alternate Ending that is an interesting study on the entirely different direction that the film could have taken for its third act.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

Scary Movie 3.5 is the latest in the DVD trend of taking a film that has already been released on DVD, and slapping a ".5" on the title to seemingly justify a re-purchase. Yeah, they've added a whole minute to the original version's running time, and the new stuff definitely doesn't make this new disc a must-purchase by any means. Aside from the longer cut, most of the extras from the film's initial DVD release have been brought over, but there are a few new pieces.


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