Sunday, 20 September 2020
Scary Movie 4
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Tuesday, 18 April 2006 17:56

This weekend was a bit of a challenge for me when it came to making my review selection. The difficulty arose from a religious type oath I once made never to see Scary Movie or any of its spawn. Staying true to my vow meant skipping the most popular film of the weekend. Instead I would venture out and see the pseudo-indie film Thank You for Smoking.

Alas the evil distribution companies thwarted my noble intentions! On Sunday a friend clued me in to the fact that Thank You for Smoking was only playing in Moncton and no where else in the province! A quick trip back to the theatre had me breaking my vows and sitting in a crowded cinema to watch Scary Movie 4.

Scary Movie 4 carries on the tradition of lampooning popular movies of the last few years (anything since Scary Movie 3 is fair game). The main plot lines come from The Grudge and The War of the Worlds. A Sarah Michelle Gellar type (Anna Faris) moves in next door to a Tom Cruise type (Craig Bierko) and of course the two fall in love. Mass chaos ensues as the movie spoofs everything from Saw (funny) to Million Dollar Baby (not so funny).

I think it’s obvious that I expected to hate the movie before even stepping into the theatre. I really didn’t want to laugh. I bit my cheek. I scoffed at the stupid parts. But in the end I did laugh… a bit. Chalk it up to my mood or the chocolate I ate beforehand but I couldn’t help but let out a few giggles at some of the idiotic one-liners. The funniest parts were innocent enough, but unfortunately there was still plenty of bathroom humor. Carmen Elektra sitting on the toilet in her lingerie was enough to make all the kids pee there pants. Does anyone over the age of ten really find this stuff funny?

So overall, I laughed; I cried; I cried about the fact that I laughed. But most of all I wondered why a cheap and taudry money-grab like Scary Movie 4 was playing everywhere while a smart and sexy comedy like Thank You for Smoking only got to strut its stuff in one city!

Thank You for Smoking reminds me of another dark horse of a film called Sideways. It has the same kind of dry humor, punchy script, and definitive acting. Thanks to good timing and award nominations Sideways became a much bigger commercial success than anyone expected, and I hope this film will have the same luck.

Thank You for Smoking is about a fast-talking PR spokesman for major tobacco companies (Aaron Eckhart). He is dealing with one of life’s big questions; Whether or not what he does is ethical. And if not, does he really care? He is actually very proud of his uncanny ability to get people to see things his way. His friends the “MOD Squad” (Merchants of Death) get their kicks out of arguing which one represents the most lethal industry – firearms, alcohol or cigarettes. The movie chronicles the chaos that ensues after he makes a fool out of the governor on a popular talk show.

Where quality satire is concerned, Thank You for Smoking serves up a satisfying dose of witty humor. But I guess all of our non-Monctonian readers might have to settle for the quantity of spoofs in Scary Movie 4 instead. Sorry guys!

Thank You for Smoking gets a 7, while I give Scary Movie 4 a suitable 4 out of 10.