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'Scary Movie V' review: Is that a 5? This series doesn't use Roman numerals

Matt Pais, @mattpais

RedEye movie critic

April 12, 2013

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 * (out of four)

“A Haunted House” may have been childish, crass and homophobic. At least it was focused.
 
Referencing but rarely commenting on “Paranormal Activity” much like “AHH,” “Scary Movie V” also nods to those other recent horror touchstones like, um, “Inception” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Black Swan.” Current!
 
Spoofs always break the rule of half-mocking something stale, but I had no idea there was a rule about the minimum amount of time that should pass before making a reference. The “Evil Dead” remake came out last week. Yet “Scary Movie V,” which comes seven years after “Scary Movie 4” and runs just 70 minutes—not including outtakes—features specific references to that ancient, seven-day old film. Hey, if you haven’t seen the new “Evil Dead,” you could plan a double feature with the comedy acknowledging its existence.
 
Surprisingly, much of “Scary Movie V” refers to the three-month-old “Mama,” with Ashley Tisdale in Jessica Chastain’s role as a young woman unprepared to adopt uncivilized kids found in the woods. Her husband Dan (Simon Rex, returning from the series’ past two installments but playing a different character) insists on taking in his nieces, who belong to his recently deceased brother Charlie Sheen. What, you’ve never heard of Dan Sheen?
 
The real Charlie Sheen appears as himself in an embarrassing prologue with Lindsay Lohan. Presumably Sheen’s real-life brother Emilio Estevez was unavailable for Dan, leaving the name Emilio available in the film for Sheen’s cat.
 
Actual cameos include Usher as a dancing janitor and Heather Locklear as the mother of Tisdale’s character, who gives birth mid-ballet performance and shoots the baby into a tuba. If you think that’s funny, maybe you’ll also like the script’s constant slut-shaming or the random Madea and Honey Boo Boo impersonators. There’s also a Mexican housekeeper presented as fat, smelly, hairy and prone to swinging at a piñata in her sleep.
 
I did laugh at a scene of a chair humping a microwave. I also like the “SNL” “Technology Hump” sketch—not sure what’s up with me and laughing at functional objects banging together. However, I have no idea who thought the idea of Snoop Dogg/Lion and Mac Miller bantering in the woods would yield awesome comic timing. Especially when they make a joke about how frequently cabins in the woods appear in horror films.
 
Guys, a really good horror movie just articulated that. It was called “The Cabin in the Woods.”

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

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