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Slapstick comedy can be something of a mixed bag if handled improperly. Finding the right synchronic metabolism can’t always be easy for comedy directors. Can David Zucker, the once master of this genre deliver again in the twenty first century? Read on to find out.

Movie
The Scary Movie franchise is nothing boastful for studio execs. All three movies have come and gone and practically been buried not six months after their releases. Over the years they have had their fare share of negative criticism but performed well at the box office nonetheless. You might say the franchise is something of a hit and miss construct and while this rings true, it certainly doesn’t mean that they’re not at least entertaining.

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The biggest change from the previous two movies is fairly obvious. The third movie ditches the Wayans brothers, their style and their wit and replaces them with David Zucker. What Zucker brings is a new energy but what he misses is the R-Rated torments the Wayans could pull so snidely. True, Scary Movie 3 is a safer movie, but considering the story at hand that’s no big deal.

Anna Faris and Regina Hall both reprise their roles as Cindy and Brenda for the third time and both shine as always. As you would expect from Faris, she delivers more charming drolleries throughout the whole film as she did in the previous two flicks. The most ambient newcomer was the form of Charlie Sheen who essentially plays a spoof of Mel Gibson’s ‘Signs’ character. This being a Zucker film and all, it might not surprise you to see a great little cameo from the likes of Leslie Nielsen who pops up near the end. I thought it was great to see this legend return to form once more, and I’m glad Zucker gave him the chance to reprise himself. At times during the last half the movie felt like another Naked Gun retread, which might not have been a bad move after all.

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Scary Movie 3 isn’t a bad flick. It’s average at best but if you haven’t seen The Ring, Signs or 8 Mile amongst a few others then it might seem totally bizarre for the majority of its rather abrupt runtime. The way in which the writers sliced ingredients from the aforementioned movies and mixed them into comedic formula was somewhat clever but after all what you get here is mindless rather than intelligent. The plot, though paper-thin still manages to rip into several movies and shamefully disgrace them for all eternity. Cindy now works as a TV news anchorwoman and desperately seeks a good story. It doesn’t take her long to discover mysterious crop circles, killing videotapes amongst other horrors. After her adopted son Cody accidentally watches the tape, Cindy receives a phone call telling her that he only has seven days to live. Teaming up with a wannabe rapper and with a little help from a host of other strange people (the Oracle and Orpheus no less) Cindy sets out to rid the world of impending doom.

When all is said and done it’s a good post-summer comedy spoof that, when in the mood is a great chill out popcorn entertainer. Get some mates round, crack open some beers and enjoy it before its expiry date clocks in.

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Video
The transfer is presented in a standard 1.85:1 aspect ratio with some solid colours and some nice visual clarity throughout. The print is pretty strong though it does suffer from noise in many sequences. On the plus side though there are exceptionally high levels of fine detail end-to-end which really makes for an enjoyable experience. Occasionally, the prints strengths highlight some of the film weaknesses. For example, it’s painfully obvious when digital imagery has been layered over the characters. The corn field sequence comes to mind here. Unlike the first two movie’s which were mostly gritty or very dark in places, the third installment’s bright and clear lighting only goes to make the transfer more illustrious. Zucker gave the movie a smart and pristine polish which has been preserved well.

Audio
Mostly centre dominant but when the LFE kicks in (the Rap Battle) you will certainly know about it. Bass is strong, tight and occasionally heavy. There are very few if any directional effects from the rears, but some pleasant ones from the fore. Dialogue is clear and mostly constant. It’s a shame there’s no DTS soundtrack included, but with the disc being mostly dormant it wouldn’t have made much diffidence. The center speaker holds up well throughout and volume levels stay pretty unvarying.

Extras
Having no chapter insert is a bit of a chafe but the packaging is good enough to excuse that let down. This release being Canadian, the cover is helpfully reversible for French and English viewers alike. Annoyingly though, the spine and the back has both the English and French text printed (which goes for both sides of the reversible cover). It’s nothing major, but it would have been nice to keep each language separate.

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Hands down the best extra feature is the excellent and hilarious audio commentary by David Zucker, the writers and a producer. These guys practically cover everything you ever wanted to know about Scary Movie 3 from its development to its new PG-13 rating. Its always fun and never lets up with the jokes and constant bantering.

The rest of the features are pretty lacklustre in comparison with the commentary but the two making of documentaries are entertaining. The deleted scenes are mostly humorous, some should have been left in the picture in my opinion and all are accompanied by the usual commentary. “Hulk vs. Aliens” the alternate ending was pretty dire on the whole but still interesting.

The outtakes and blooper reel is nothing to shout about, just the standardised attempt at making you laugh, when it fact it hardly ever does. There are also no trailers or any sign of DVD-Rom features on the disc either. They won’t be sorely missed but they would have had a nice addition.

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Overall
David Zucker dishes out a modest if often hit and miss spoof that manages to retain at least some of the Wayans heart. The DVD is packed with some decent if boring features but you get to learn all you want with what’s at hand. Dolby’s 5.1 mix is pretty good, but with little action or cause for loudness it wont leave you exhausted. On the plus side, the image transfer is excellent and should impress anybody with an eye for detail. Time won’t be very kind to this movie, give it a year or two and it will soon be collecting dust, so just enjoy it while it lasts.


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