SCARY MOVIE 2 — * — Anna Faris, Christopher Masterson, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Regina Hall, David Cross, Chris Elliott, Tim Curry; rated R (vulgarity, slapstick violence, profanity, sex, drug use, nudity, racial epithets); Carmike 12 and Ritz 15 Theaters; Century Theatres 16; Cinemark Jordan Landing Theaters; Gateway 8 Cinemas; Loews Cineplex Broadway Centre and Midvalley Cinemas; Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons; Redwood Drive-in (with "Tomb Raider"); Westates Holladay Center Cinemas 6.
Contrary to what the makers of "Scary Movie 2" would have us believe, humor involves more than just shocking people or turning their stomachs.
Then again, maybe it doesn't. The film's predecessor was little more than a collection of loosely strung-together gross-out gags, and it was one of last year's biggest box-office smashes.
So it comes as no surprise that the all-too-inevitable sequel, "Scary Movie 2," is more of the same. But even fans of the original may find their patience tested by this even more loosely knit collection of movie parodies, few of which could be categorized as clever or funny. (It's fortunate for the filmmakers "Freddy Got Fingered" came out this year, or this largely laughless dud might be at the top of many a critic's Worst 10 lists at the end of the year.)
"Scary Movie 2" also brings back most of the cast from the original film, including Anna Faris, who stars as Cindy Campbell, who's now a college student. She and her friends have just gotten into the swing of college life when they're recruited for "sleep study" by a creepy professor (Tim Curry, in a thankless but brief bit), who has sinister designs on the coeds.
He takes his clueless victims . . . er . . . test subjects to the legendary Hell House, which is possessed by the spirits of the original owners — who aren't exactly happy to see them there.
What plot there is really isn't worth exploring any further; suffice it to say the Wayans brothers might have been better off just ending the film after the initial "Exorcist" parody (featuring James Woods, Andy Richter and Natasha Lyonne). It may not be all that funny, but at least it's more inspired than what follows.
It doesn't help that Keenen Ivory Wayans' direction is so inept. He lingers on the scene well after several painfully unfunny gags are over, and he seems to bring out the worst in his cast and crew (even the photography is bad).
And as far as the performances are concerned, let's just say that few of the actors will list this one on their resumes. Faris just isn't a funny actress, though it's hard to get laughs when you're acting opposite such alleged talents as Chris Elliott.
"Scary Movie 2" is rated R for crude humor (sexual, scatological and other), slapstick violence, frequent use of strong profanity, simulated sex and sex acts, simulated drug use (marijuana), nudity (male and some explicit props) and scattered use of racial epithets. Running time: 82 minutes.