Taking the reins from the increasingly unfunny Wayans family, 'Scary Movie 3' was brought to screens by the creative team behind such legitimately entertaining spoofs as 'Airplane!' and 'The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!' While a marked improvement over its absolutely painful predecessor, this third addition to the franchise is still marred by an inconsistent script and an occasional reliance on outdated pop culture references. Still, as overwhelmingly mediocre as it is, there is a certain silly charm to the whole thing that leads to some sporadic laughs.
Primarily spoofing 'Signs,' and 'The Ring' the movie features a loose and mostly inconsequential plot heavily inspired by those efforts. While there is a story of sorts, like the other installments in the series, this plays more like a series of comedy sketches with no real attempts at character development. Anna Faris and Regina Hall are the only two returning cast members, but honestly I doubt anyone will miss the rest of the absent gang. Newcomers to this addition include actors Simon Rex, Anthony Anderson, the great Leslie Nielsen, and… Charlie Sheen. On that last note, I'm quite thankful that Lionsgate has decided to release this film now and not several months ago, as I shudder to think what this review might have read like during the peak of Sheen-mania. How many times would I have worked in the word "winning," I wonder, or found terribly clever ways to reference tiger blood and Adonis DNA? Why, the review itself could have been just as riddled with painfully outdated and unfunny quips as the actual movie. I'd really like to think I'm better than that, but I think I've now demonstrated that I'm clearly not.
The actual theme of the parodies is a little less focused than earlier efforts in the franchise and there is much more of a reliance on decidedly not scary movies. Outside of 'The Ring' and 'Signs,' the script takes shots at 'The Others,' '8 Mile,' and 'The Matrix' all to varying degrees of success. In contrast to the more gross-out fueled attempts at humor in 'Scary Movie 2,' here the comedy comes from an abundance of puns, slapstick antics, and goofy visual gags that all hark back to the director's previous work. While there are certainly a lot of misses, there are actually a few pretty amusing hits that are definitely worth a laugh. The spoofing itself is also a lot wittier than its precursor (which is a pretty empty compliment) and most of the humor is actually relevant and related to the material being mocked. With that said, there are still many painful missteps, including another eye rolling commercial parody. Thankfully though, despite the rampant stupidity, the movie remains marginally entertaining throughout, which is sort of commendable... maybe.
The performances also end up elevating the material in some cases, and the cast does a pretty good job with what they have to work with. Anna Faris continues to excel with a role that blends childlike naivety with almost impossible stupidity. The actress isn't afraid to look foolish on-screen and many of the jokes end up working thanks to her dedication and willingness to go all in. Regina Hall also puts in a fun performance but is slightly underused. Simon Rex ends up creating a character that is essentially the male version of Cindy, and he does a decent job of mimicking Faris's dumbstruck idiocy. Leslie Nielsen continues the same type of deadpan goofiness that he pioneered in Zucker's previous works and is a very welcomed addition to the cast. Last but not least, Charlie Sheen also does a fine job, reminding the audience that outside of his personal insanity, the man is capable of being legitimately funny.
'Scary Movie 3' isn't really a good film. It's extremely uneven, very hit or miss with its comedy, and ultimately completely mediocre… and yet, there is a certain goofy charm to it all that helps to save it from total disaster. While it isn’t in the same league as some of Zucker's previous efforts, there is indeed an occasional splash of comedic wit to be found here, that keeps the movie somewhat entertaining even when its stupidity may have you rolling your eyes. By no means a success or quite an abomination, this middle-of-the-road spoof flick might be worth a few laughs. Though the emphasis is on few.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Lionsgate presents 'Scary Movie 3' on Blu-ray on a BD-25 disc housed in a standard case. The version of the film included is actually the unrated 'Scary Movie 3.5' edit and features material that was cut in order to avoid an R rating. Some skippable trailers play upon start up before transitioning to a standard menu.
The movie is presented in a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. A noticeable improvement over the series' previous installment, the image is still a little underwhelming.
The print is in OK shape, with a light layer of grain visible. With that said, the image does have a slightly processed look to it. Detail can be good, but several shots have a fairly soft appearance. Dimensionality is rarely impressive but the image can have a pleasing, bright quality. The look of the movie tends to shift a lot as the filmmakers attempt to mimic the various films they are spoofing which can lead to an uneven presentation. Colors are mostly solid, offering some welcomed pop in several scenes, but also look a little washed out in others. Black levels are consistent and overall contrast is decent but a little subdued at times.
While never impressive and occasionally looking a tad processed, this is a pretty decent transfer. It doesn't offer the same detail or depth as other more recent efforts, but it gets the job done.
The film is provided with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track along with optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles. Like the video, the audio presentation is solid but rarely noteworthy.
Dialogue is clean and easy to understand. Directionality and surround use are present when appropriate, adding some fun effects and some decent levels of immersion to the various action and suspense sequences. Dynamic range presents a marginal gamut of frequencies that don't distort, and bass is solid with a sometimes potent low end. Balance between the audio elements is handled well and speech is prioritized nicely.
'Scary Movie 3' sounds just fine on Blu-ray. Though never particularly memorable or impressive, there are some occasional bursts of fun, lively sound design that compliment the comedy and spoofed material well.
Lionsgate has included a surprisingly entertaining assortment of supplements, including a rather funny commentary, some featurettes, and deleted material. All of the extras are presented in standard definition with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound and no subtitle options.
Make no mistake, 'Scary Movie 3' is definitely a bad movie. Still, despite its many flaws there are some occasional laughs peppered throughout its mediocre running time. The video transfer and audio mix are both decent, but nothing to get too excited about. Supplements are surprisingly entertaining and actually worth your time. While I certainly can't recommend this, it might not make a terrible rental when nothing else looks good (though such a scenario is pretty hard to believe).