2 (out of five stars)Director: Malcolm D. LeeCast: Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Erica Ash, Katt Williams, Gracie Whitton, Lidia Porto, Lindsay Lohan, Charlie SheenRated: PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language, some drug material, partial nudity, comic violence and goreRunning time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
It’s not even Halloween, and Dimension Films (the Weinstein Co.’s horror, action and sophomoric-comedy arm) is releasing “Scary Movie V,” the latest installment of a slick, highly profitable parody franchise. Hollywood has certainly kept the screenwriters (the “Scary Movie” veterans Pat Profft and David Zucker) supplied with material: The biggest targets here are the “Paranormal Activity” series, “Black Swan” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” with nods to “Mama,” “The Ring,” “Saw” and others.
The “Scary” movies are noted for cameo appearances, and “V” is no exception: Molly Shannon, Snoop Dogg (I thought he was Snoop Lion!), Heather Locklear, Usher, Mike Tyson and Tyler Perry as his Madea character parade through the scattershot skits. Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan have a faintly amusing bit at the start in which they’re in bed and Sheen mocks his sexual appetites as Lohan gamely pokes fun at her arrest record.
Handily inheriting the mantle of “Scary Movie” scream queen from Anna Faris is Ashley Tisdale, a Disney-factory graduate and “High School Musical” comic asset whose elastic face lends itself to numerous reaction shots. (Somebody, give her a sitcom, or at least a better movie.) There is a plot thread — about a couple (Tisdale and Simon Rex) adopting children haunted by a nefarious mother-spirit — but forget it.
The pot and potty jokes are to be expected, while repeated, casual denigrations of the couple’s Hispanic housekeeper (Lidia Porto) inadvertently suggest affluent, unthinking Los Angeles prejudice. Most effective are high-speed video sequences (a “Paranormal” staple) used for silent-movie physical comedy. And a poolside soiree of possessed, hard-partying home appliances has its moments. But Marlon Wayans’ satire “A Haunted House” got to “Paranormal” first, and for a much smaller budget delivered bigger laughs.
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