Scary Movie 4 Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
If there’s one thing you can say about the Scary Movie franchise, it’s consistent. The only thing that’s changed in four films is the rating… the first two garnered an R by the MPAA, but after the second had a poor showing at the box office, creators made a financially wise decision and moved the third grossfest to the PG-13 category. That brought the bottom line back into six figures. Otherwise, the concept—right down to the primary character, little blonde Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris)—hasn’t changed a bit. And neither has the goal to insult as many identifiable groups as possible while at the same time spoofing as many movies as possible.
In this installment, the Japanese inspired horror film The Grudge and the sci-fi thriller War of the Worlds provide the most fodder for the script, along with moments stolen from M. Night Shyamalan’s The Villiage. Looking outside the spooky genre, writers also include ongoing gags about two male characters a la Brokeback Mountain, a boxing angle straight out of Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby and a little Hustle and Flow to keep things hip. (Obviously, no one is concerned the under-18 crowd may not be familiar with the couple of R-rated titles.)
Blending these borrowed plot points together, edition number four begins with young Cindy moving into a strange Japanese-style home with a ghost in the attic, right beside the Brooklyn Bridge. Next door lives a divorced man who is about to deal with a problem far greater than his rebellious son. After a giant, mysterious music-playing device ruptures out from under the pavement, tr-iPod robots begin attacking the city. Meanwhile, in a remote and isolated upstate village, people living a century-old lifestyle are wondering what the hubbub is all about.
Mocking any of these popular films ought to provide plenty of opportunities for some good laughs. Unfortunately, Scary Movie 4 never strives for anything higher than the minimum requirement to attract an audience. Once beyond the opening few minutes involving the real Dr. Phil and Shaquille O’Neal, the fun dissipates rapidly.
There is no waning in the barrage of sexual, racial and bodily function jokes though. In order to find the bulk of this film remotely humorous, you need to get your laughs from situations like watching an elderly woman getting washed off in her own urine, a man gulping down a bottle of Viagra in an attempt to commit suicide (creating the obvious visual gag), or a blind woman wearing lingerie having an impossibly noisy bowel movement during a town hall meeting. Profanities and explicit violence presented in a comedic fashion round out the content issues.
Obviously, this film contains elements most parents will find offensive—and I’ve only listed a small sampling. It’s also a poorly made project that makes for a long sit, even though it has only a scant 85-minute runtime. What’s truly scary is the likelihood the movie will make enough money to bring on yet another sequel.
Starring Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Craig Bierko. Running time: 85 minutes. Theatrical release April 13, 2006. Updated April 7, 2009
Scary Movie 4
Rating & Content Info
Why is Scary Movie 4 rated PG-13? Scary Movie 4 is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for crude and sexual humor throughout, some comic violence and language.
Although the entire movie is played for laughs (and teens are unlikely to take anything they see or hear seriously), this film is filled with sexual, scatological, and racial humor that is played out verbally and sometimes visually. Nudity is never explicit, but one scene, which takes place in the UN, ends with everyone having their clothes removed by a ray gun. Language includes many terms of religious deity, moderate and mild profanities, as well as three uses of a sexual expletive (once spoken, once nearly uttered, and once only mouthed). Violence is exaggerated with many hand-to-hand confrontations and other incidents such as space ships vaporizing humans, a character sawing off his own foot to escape from a leg iron, and another accidentally shooting an ultra light pilot. A scene in a bar includes social drinking of alcohol. Overall, this film pushes the limits of the PG-13 rating.
Page last updated April 7, 2009
Scary Movie 4 Parents' Guide
Why do people enjoy laughing at movies that were originally made to be frightening? How does spoofing a film help us to understand the production elements used to create suspense?
Do you think Scary Movie 4 would still be humorous without the “shock” content?
The most recent home video release of Scary Movie 4 movie is August 14, 2006. Here are some details…
This fourth edition to the Scary Movie franchise comes to DVD in three different packages: The theatrical release, as well as the unrated version in either wide or full screen presentations.
Related home video titles:
If you find humor in spoofs but want something a little less offensive than the Scary Movie franchise, check out Galaxy Quest (which pokes fun at the Star Trek phenomenon) and Shrek I or Shrek II (that plays on popular fairytales and nursery rhymes).