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Genius Products presents
Scary Movie 4 (Unrated) (2006)

"I'm not even a psychologist. I'm an electrician."
- Dr. Phil McGraw

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: August 14, 2006

Stars: Anna Faris, Regina Hall
Other Stars: Craig Bierko, Bill Pullman, Anthony Anderson, Carmen Electra, Chris Elliott, Kevin Hart, Cloris Leachman, Michael Madsen, Dr. Phil McGraw, Leslie Nielsen, Shaquille O'Neal, Molly Shannon, Lil' Jon, Fabolous, Chingy
Director: David Zucker

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (crude and sexual humor throughout, some comic violence and language)
Run Time: 01h:29m:30s
Release Date: August 15, 2006
UPC: 796019794657
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ D+A-A- B

DVD Review

It wouldn't be a complete year at the US box office without the presence of the next Scary Movie. This horror-spoof franchise, the brain child of the Wayans brothers, is taken on by David Zucker, the man behind the mother of all parodies, Airplane! The series has proven to be box office gold, and now, the first of the series to be released under the Weinstein Company label, Scary Movie 4, makes its DVD debut.

Unsurprisingly, this sequel sticks to the tried and true formula of its predecessors. Unfortunately, it also matches those films in that the laughs are few and far between. The funniest part of this installment is the opening sequence, featuring Shaquille O'Neal and Dr. Phil, as themselves, entangled in a deadly Saw-like game. While far from good actors, these two have a great time mocking themselves. Once we get past this initial five minutes, though, it's all downhill.

There aren't as many movies sent up this time around, but the main focus of Zucker's mockery is on The Grudge, The Village, Saw, and Spielberg's War of the Worlds. The main storyline revolves around the events in the latter alien invasion film, with Craig Bierko stepping into Tom Cruise's role as Tom Ryan. Ryan lives next door to Cindy Campbell (series mainstay Anna Faris), who is taking care of an old woman (Cloris Leachman) who constantly looks like she's seen a ghost. Well, she has, and it's the ghost of a Japanese boy who warns Cindy of impending danger. She eventually meets Tom, and they join forces to stop a group of killer alien tripods. Meanwhile, the President of the United States (Leslie Nielsen) can't be bothered by such events, as he is in a classroom listening intently to the reading of a children's book.

The plot of a parody like this really doesn't matter, as it's all about seeing what popular film will be sent up next. No film or movie star is safe from Zucker and his longtime collaborators Jim Abrams and Pat Proft, as they skewer every genre convention imaginable. The extended bit on The Village is inspired, but Chris Elliott is incredibly annoying. There are far more misses than hits, with a tasteless and unnecessary take on Million Dollar Baby, and one on Brokeback Mountain that doesn't work at all. The laughs are so scarce that even a few rapper cameos (Chingy, Lil' Jon, Fabolous) were desperately thrown in, although they serve no purpose to the story.

Anna Faris always brings life to this franchise, but this installment greatly benefits from the presence of Bill Pullman as well. He's actually mocking his own role in the American version of The Grudge, enjoying every minute of it. Making a smooth transition into the William Hurt role from The Village, Pullman conjures up great memories of his work in Spaceballs. If only David Zucker could conjure up similar memories of his classic films, this new picture might have had a chance to generate at least a few laughs.

In the end, this movie is just uninspired, with obvious gags that cannot rise above the mediocrity of the rest of the franchise. With a stronger pedigree behind the last two entries, expectations have been high, but neither has delivered. Taking the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach might keep the money flowing in, but it also means that the films continue to generate very few laughs.

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

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is generally problem-free, but there are a few instances where dirt and grain appeared. While the special effects don't approach the high quality of the films this one is parodying, the sharpness of the transfer raise the overall look to a higher level. The color scheme is appropriately bright and vivid, and is aided by solid black and contrast levels.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: A Dolby Digital 5.1 mix features nice channel separation, along with a wide dynamic range. Some sequences are much livelier than others, but all benefit from an aggressive bass presence and crystal clear dialogue.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Protector, Lucky Number Slevin, Pulse, Clerks II
15 Deleted Scenes
6 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director David Zucker, producer Robert K. Weiss, and writer/producer Craig Mazin
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Bloopers
Extras Review: The decent extras collection includes a feature-length audio commentary with director David Zucker, producer Robert K. Weiss, and writer/producer Craig Mazin. As with their track for Scary Movie 3, these guys are funnier discussing their film together than the material itself. They talk about the cast, script, and locations, and also touch on the changes between the theatrical and unrated cuts.

We also get 15 deleted and extended scenes that run for just under 14 minutes, with optional commentary by the aforementioned trio of filmmakers. Again, Zucker and company are very funny in their musings. Seven minutes of bloopers give us some very funny moments with Dr. Phil and Shaq, but there's more Lil' Jon than there should be.

The Man Behind the Laugh (Director David Zucker) is three-minutes of the cast reflecting on just how infectious Zucker's laugh is, and how difficult it can be to get through a scene after hearing it. Zany Spoof Humor—Zucker Style also runs for three minutes and this focuses on the spoof style that Zucker made famous so many years ago.

The nearly five-minute An Interviewer's Worst Nightmare is a collection of interview outtakes that has its funny moments, while The Visual Effects of Scary Movie 4 is eight minutes spent with the effects people responsible for the film's visual treats. The mixture of interviews and test footage makes this the most interesting featurette in the group. A couple of throwaway segments round out the featurettes, with the three-minute Youngbloodz and Rappers...Actors focusing on the rap artist cameos in the film.

There's also the theatrical trailer and a collection of previews for other Weinstein Company releases.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Anyone holding out hope that David Zucker and company have regained their magic with Scary Movie 4 will be sadly disappointed. This unrated version is over 10 minutes longer than the theatrical release, and it looks and sounds quite impressive. There's a decent amount of extras as well, but it wouldn't be surprising to see a more expansive special edition release in the near future.

 


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