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Movie Review

Parody fans know that logical story lines aren't exactly prominent in the genre. That remains true with Scary Movie 4, which contains a plot that defies description (and yes, logic). More a string of loosely connected lampoons than a story, this sequel centers once again on blonde bimbo Cindy Campbell, who moves into a house to take care of an elderly woman.

Once there, she not only meets Tom Ryan, an equally dimwitted neighbor and failing dad, but also a boyish ghost who's haunting the house. She's determined to find out who killed him and why. Meanwhile, aliens are attacking Earth, and while Tom tries to save his two children, Cindy has a hunch that her ghost friend can help defeat these unwelcome visitors.


Positive Elements

A boxing coach encourages Cindy during a bout, saying, "I know you're scared, but I believe in you. You can win this." The blonde tells Tom, "Maybe I'm not meant to be happy, but something about you makes me want to try." Tom comforts his daughter and tries to bolster her hope during a perilous situation (though he follows this up with singing a profanity-laden "lullaby"). When he's willing to risk his life for his kids, they express their appreciation and forgive him for his lax parenting ("All you had to do was show that you love me," his daughter says). The masked figure from Saw later tells them, "Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes real courage to forgive." He then apologizes, albeit half-heartedly, for killing "millions of people." A narrator waxes eloquent about love triumphing in the end.

Spiritual Content

Cindy tells Charlie Sheen's depressed character that he could turn to religion, but that it probably won't amount to much. Tom's hip-hop friend wears a diamond cross around his neck. A young ghost who haunts a house explains that he was killed and his soul walks the earth. An Amish/Mennonite-ish community says grace before eating (though the prayer consists of nothing but the "village idiot" uttering various names of private parts).

Sexual Content

Par for the parody course, this fourth Scary Movie features a steady stream of sexual sight gags, crude jokes and double entendres. Aliens, pigs, humans—you name it—are all shown either making sexual motions or in sexual positions. A few characters grope women's breasts. A man accidentally downs a bottle of Viagra that causes a huge erection, which then knocks over everything in his path. After a cat clings to the bulge with its claws, the man jumps off a balcony and smashes to the ground—penis first. Cindy's oversexed best friend, Brenda, makes continuous jokes and motions regarding oral, anal and manual sex, sex in public, urination during sex, STDs and masturbation (one especially crude visual involves her seemingly pleasuring a villager). She also comments about turning a torture device into a sex toy. Several characters chime in about having had sex with Tom's ex-wife.

A Brokeback Mountain bit involves two guys stripping down to have sex in a tent. Though the scene shows them only from the chest up, later we see both their backsides. (We also witness their tent shaking wildly.) Two men from the religious community get married, and they're shown deep kissing. The camera gets a close-up of a guy grabbing his crotch.

Cleavage is emphasized throughout, especially via a trio of lingerie-wearing Playboy models and a scantily-clad Carmen Electra. A photograph shows women in a wet T-shirt contest. Cindy is seen taking a shower (from the shoulders up). The U.S. President and an entire United Nations assembly wind up naked. After we see several shots of the Commander in Chief's backside, his and others' privates are strategically covered. Another man appears in his underwear. Various inanimate objects appear in the shape of sexual organs.

Violent Content

Just as plentiful as the crude sex jokes is the over-the-top slapstick comedy that, while never bloody or gory, is still violent. Tom's young daughter continuously takes the brunt of the blows, as she has her leg and head slammed in a car door, is (twice) struck by lightning and gets violently knocked over by her father.

Dr. Phil cuts off his foot, then raises the severed limb in the air (his cut flesh is shown still attached to a shoe). Cindy gouges out her fake eye to retrieve a key. A young woman's head is used to staple papers. An older woman's noggin is similarly slammed against a surface repeatedly. A man attempts to drown the boyish ghost in the bathtub, then hits him several times in the face with a plunger. Aliens zap several humans (à la War of the Worlds), and their presence leads to lots of explosions. In one of those blasts, soldiers are sent flying, and their severed limbs are held up at various times.

A man gets stabbed. Tom accidentally shoots himself twice while stuffing a gun down his pants. A man commits suicide by stabbing himself, and another jumps off a balcony. Various characters face near-death experiences while placed in torture devices. A man gets run over with a moving vehicle. Tom breaks Oprah's hands, and he slings Cindy across a room.

A couple of individuals and a dog walk across the screen while on fire. Dozens of people are shown getting their necks broken at a boxing match. The event also features a Mike Tyson-esque character biting off people's ears (a pile of the body parts is briefly shown). A terrorist strapped with faulty explosives gets beaten up by a bat-toting mob. A man beats up his own grandma (he thinks she's become an alien zombie), then tosses her down a manhole. People get hit in the face with balls, airplane carts, automobile parts and other unforgiving objects.

Crude or Profane Language

An f-word is accompanied by a dozen uses of the s-word. Dr. Phil faints before he's able to complete an utterance of "m-----f-----." God's name is misused close to 20 times, while Jesus' gets profaned in at least three instances. Another 30-plus profanities, crudities and vulgarities are added (including harsh references to sexual anatomy). A teen mouths "a--hole" to his father.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Charlie Sheen's character tries to commit suicide by downing an entire bottle of pills and a flask of vodka. A bar scene features beer everywhere. Wine also gets some screen time, and a guy is called a crackhead. Hip-hop tracks during the ending credits mention drinking at a club and smoking an unnamed substance.

Other Negative Elements

Cindy accidentally uses the contents of a bedpan to give an elderly lady a sponge bath. Tom makes a comment about soiling himself. Unaware that she's not in a bathroom, Carmen Electra's blind character relieves herself (with lots of crude sounds) in front of a crowd.

The senseless President asks his assistant to "remind [him] to sign that abortion bill" after dealing with a classroom full of children. Jokes take shots at virtually every race. A disturbing image shows a young woman missing her lower jaw.


Pop-culture parody movies have one thing in mind, and it's certainly not quality: artistic, moral or otherwise. No, their goal is to cater to the absolute lowest common denominator in every sense. And by that standard, Scary Movie 4 scores high marks.

Throughout the continuous send-ups that include The Grudge, Saw, War of the Worlds, The Village, Brokeback Mountain and even Million Dollar Baby, it's hard to find a moment not filled with sexual sight gags, crude language and over-the-top violence played for laughs. One hopeful sign: Vol. 4's posters sport the tagline, "The fourth and final chapter of the trilogy." I hope that claim isn't just another bad joke.

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Anna Faris as Cindy Campbell; Regina Hall as Brenda Meeks; Craig Bierko as Tom Ryan; Leslie Nielsen as President Harris; Bill Pullman as Henry; Carmen Electra as Holly; Molly Shannon as Tom Ryan's wife; Chris Elliott as The Village Idiot; appearances by Charlie Sheen, Shaquille O'Neal, Dr. Phil McGraw, Chingy, Lil' Jon, Fabolous and James Earl Jones


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Marcus Yoars

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