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Review: 'Scary Movie V' moves between frenzied and stoned

The eye-rolling antics abound in the latest horror-film parody, where even Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan are barely believable as themselves.

April 12, 2013|By Amy Nicholson
  • Ashley Tisdale stars "Scary Movie V."
Ashley Tisdale stars "Scary Movie V." (Quantrell D. Colbert, Weinstein…)

Poor Charlie Sheen! In the opening of "Scary Movie V," no sooner does he bed Lindsay Lohan — both barely convincing playing themselves — than a ghost kills him and kidnaps his three kids. (Legal troubles aside, Lohan is fine.) Three months later, Snoop Dogg finds the now-crabwalking moppets in a haunted cabin in Humboldt County and delivers them and their new ghost mom back to civilization.

Three months is auspicious. "Scary Movie V" lifts its plot from Jessica Chastain's surprise horror hit "Mama," released in January, and if you think three months is an impossible amount of time to write and produce a feature film, well, it is. In the Oscar nominee's role is former Disney star Ashley Tisdale, here seen having her way with a microwave. A game comedian, she earns our applause through sheer empathy.

Director Malcolm D. Lee's strategy is to out-stupid the competition. Roll your eyes at "Paranormal Activity 2's" haunted robot pool cleaner? Here the droid stirs to life to throw a raging house party, snorting bleach through its nozzle and somehow playing beer pong without any hands.

For the art-house crowd, who may, I suppose, stumble drunk into the wrong theater after too much Chardonnay, there are nods to "Black Swan" and "127 Hours." Kudos to comedian J.P. Manoux for his excellent impersonation of Vincent Cassel from "Swan," not that "Scary Movie V's" target audience will notice.

The pacing alternates between frantic and stoned. Within five minutes, an "Inception" gag begets a "Fifty Shades of Grey" gag begets a cameo from Mike Tyson, who at this point in his career appears to be a gag just by showing up. While another five minutes drags on in a montage in which Simon Rex repeatedly electrocutes himself installing security cameras, the better to prevent Ghost Mom from sticking Tisdale's toothbrush up the wrong end of a German shepherd.

Animals have it almost as bad here as Lidio Porto, cast in the thankless role of Tisdale and Rex's Mexican maid. She never gets her deserved vengeance in a film that thinks her bottom in a thong bikini is the height of hilarity, but at least a chimpanzee gets the film's fitting last line: "Apes need to take over this planet."

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'Scary Movie V'

MPAA rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language, some drug material, partial nudity, comic violence and gore

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Playing: In general release

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