By Owen Gleiberman
Updated March 17, 2020 at 03:09 AM EDT
  • Movie

There’s a pretty funny parody of ”Charlie’s Angels” tucked inside Scary Movie 2 — at least, it might have been funny had the movie getting skewered not already been such a loopy parody of itself. In the catacombs of a spooky old mansion, three leather-clad chop-socky babes charge at a villain — Chris Elliott, looking grodier than ever in a fright wig and shriveled hand — and it takes a good 15 seconds for one of their slow-mo, high-flying balletic kicks to travel through the air. We get the joke: These fight scenes are incredibly exaggerated. (You could hardly begin to try this at home.)

Yet it’s like chuckling at a rerun. A juicy movie spoof awakens us to conventions and clichés so banal that we didn’t even know they were there. ”Scary Movie 2” is an act of nose-thumbing that never quite figures out how, or even where, to position its thumb.

Last summer, in the first ”Scary Movie,” the Wayans brothers caught the pulse of the moment by reveling in the smutty shock-theater extremity that suddenly seemed to be exploding everywhere in pop culture. In the guise of mocking the ”Scream” films, they exposed the horn-dog roots of teen-horror trash, pushing the envelope of grossness and raunch as a way to lampoon just how far the envelope could be pushed. (Carmen Electra’s cheesy nude terror romp was at once soft porn and a sendup of soft porn. Talk about commercial!) ”Scary Movie 2,” on the other hand, just backtracks into a parody of old-haunted-house flicks, as if anyone cared for two minutes about a dud hit like ”The Haunting.” Among the stray amusing bits is the opening riff on ”The Exorcist,” complete with James Woods winking at his off-screen lasciviousness as a randy priest, and the ongoing character of a very nasty trash-talking parrot. But ”Scary Movie 2” is so crudely shot that it never remotely summons the style or atmosphere of what it’s satirizing, and the comedy itself has no momentum, no tingle of dirty glee. The Wayans brothers, at their best, are priceless jesters, but they need to reconnect with the moment. C

Scary Movie 2

  • Movie
  • R
  • 90 minutes
  • Keenen Ivory Wayans