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Movie Review

The third chapter in this profitable series of horror satires (number four is in the works) builds its story around plot lines from The Ring and Signs, with a little Matrix Reloaded, 8 Mile and Independence Day thrown in for good measure. Now out of college and working as a TV news reporter, Cindy Campbell pursues a story involving Tom, a farmer who finds mysterious crop circles in his corn field. Tom’s rudderless brother, George, wants to be an Eminem-style rapper, despite the fact that he can’t rhyme and is slang-impaired.

Meanwhile, Cindy has a lead on a second story. This one’s about people who die seven days after viewing a twisted video tape. Believe it or not, these bizarre assignments are related, as is the pending alien invasion that will occur if Cindy (who the Oracle says is the “chosen one”) doesn’t intervene in time. Not that any of it really matters. It’s simply the sinew that holds together what fans of this series show up for: non-stop sight gags, violent physical comedy, sly pop culture references and crude, disposable one-liners. Some of the humor is clever and innocuous, but most of it is vulgar, tasteless and mean-spirited.

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Positive Elements

None of the film’s pro-social statements are made in earnest but a few exist. Cindy took responsibility for her nephew when her sister died, and repents of being too self-centered to meet the boy’s growing needs. After trying to figure out what to do with his life, George decides what he’s missing is a family of his own, and marries Cindy. Men set out to battle the aliens after securing the safety of women and children. People with physical challenges are honored for overcoming them (then bedlam occurs and they become the brunt of lowbrow humor). Several jokes allude to the way the media gravitates to sensationalism, and tends to exploit sex and violence for ratings.

Spiritual Content

When a priest (Hammond) shows up to baby-sit Cindy’s nephew, he comes across as a lascivious pedophile. Tom is a former priest with a crisis of faith. A friend assures him, “Your faith will return as sure as the sun will rise.”

Sexual Content

Quite a bit. The opening scene finds Anderson and McCarthy in low-cut blouses that accentuate their assets. Jiggling bosoms and cleavage show up on other occasions as well. McCarthy describes a porn tape that sounds exactly like the infamous one Anderson shot with then-hubby Tommy Lee. Not one, but two pairs of canines engage in sexual behavior. With a classroom full of young children listening in, Cindy and Brenda (their teacher) discuss a mutual desire for better casual sexual experiences. Punch lines wink at promiscuity, voyeurism, adultery, homosexuality, oral sex, self-gratification, threesomes, bestiality and sex-change operations. A man kisses a scantily clad young woman with sleazy abandon. When Tom discovers his wife pinned to a tree by a truck and near death, all he can think about is how it will effect him sexually.

Violent Content

There’s a lot of physical comedy, some slapstick moments more vicious than others. A young boy serves as the movie’s primary punching bag. He absorbs all sorts of abuse and, like a cartoon character, keeps coming back for more. He is beaten with a baseball bat, sent flying by a car, plowed over by an SUV, and hit in the head by a ceiling fan that pitches him through a glass window.

A fight breaks out at a wake. People are punched before the melee winds up stripping and desecrating the corpse (which is finally blown to pieces by an attempt to revive it via electric shock). One child’s grisly crayon drawings reveal a preoccupation with death and dismemberment. A ghoulish girl who had been drowned by her mother seeks revenge on mankind by murdering everyone who has seen a bizarre videotape. After meeting their doom, the victims’ faces are contorted.

McCarthy gets decapitated. The gruesome specter crawls through a TV screen and engages in a knock-down brawl with Brenda. She gets into a similar fight with the Oracle, and later attacks Cindy and her nephew. Twice, George is hurled through glass windows.

A half-dozen gangstas at a rap competition take exception to the scathing comments by American Idol judge Simon Cowell and empty their pistols into him. Drive-by vandalism with a paintball gun leads to a passing bicyclist getting KO’d by a sealed gallon of interior latex. Rival gangs open fire on each other, leaving everyone dead. Aliens are run over and killed by a car. What starts as a playful fight between grown sisters ends with them violently beating each other with chairs and other objects. A ceremony at the White House erupts in chaos and fisticuffs. There are several kicks to George’s crotch. Tom beats the daylights out of Michael Jackson and tears off his nose.

Crude or Profane Language

Approximately 75 profanities (22 are s-words), plus crass mentions of anatomy and bodily functions. On more than one occasion, the filmmakers hope the audience will chuckle at a young boy using foul language. Women are referred to as “b--ches” and “hos.” Blasphemies include a dozen exclamatory uses of God’s name, as well as several misuses of Jesus’ name. There’s also one f-word directed at a class of young children.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Tom mentions having been a stoner. Dogs are shown smoking pot from a bong. Cindy fondly recalls her sister cavalierly trying crystal meth the night before giving birth. The Oracle is a chain-smoker with drawers full of used cigarette butts. Cindy’s boss in the newsroom bursts into a raucous Coors beer commercial (a moment being used to cross-promote the movie in actual Coors TV spots) with people all around him downing suds.

Other Negative Elements

From below, we see a man’s bare bottom descending onto a toilet seat. Shots also show a horse relieving himself, a woman’s hand covered in mucous, and aliens urinating out of their index fingers. Several people vomit, a couple times in graphic fashion. The Oracle experiences a bout of flatulence. Gaudy rap music plays over the end credits.

Conclusion

Glass Half Full Conclusion: On the heels of two excessively lewd, visually explicit, R-rated entries in this horror/comedy series (courtesy of the Wayans brothers), Zucker shows a bit more responsibility at the helm, toning down his rapid-fire lampoons enough to earn a PG-13. Glass Half Empty Conclusion: Let’s just give the ratings board the rest of the year off, shall we? If their decision to grant Scary Movie 3 a PG-13 is any indication of how it is “serving” families, we’d all be better off without it. The first two Scary movies went to such sick extremes that many critics wondered how they avoided an NC-17. Good question. This time, no one is getting blasted with semen as if from a fire hose, so the MPAA apparently felt the film didn’t need an R, despite humor involving mating dogs, excretion, pedophilia, masturbation, incest, erections, bestiality, transexuality, prostitution and pornography. It’s not quite as graphic, but the jokes now are no more appropriate for a 13-year-old than they’ve ever been. Parents should pretend that this installment got an R just like the others—which is what it deserved—and rule accordingly.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

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Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

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Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Genre

Comedy

Author

Cast

Anna Faris as Cindy; Charlie Sheen as Tom; Simon Rex as George; Regina Hall as Brenda; appearances by Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Jeremy Piven, Darrell Hammond, Denise Richards, Simon Cowell, Fat Joe, Eddie Griffin, Queen Latifah, Leslie Nielsen, Ja Rule, George Carlin, D.L. Hughley, Method Man, Macy Gray, Camryn Manheim and Master P

Distributor

Miramax Films

Network

Performance

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Platform

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In Theaters

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Smithouser

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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