A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that SCARY MOVIE 2, the first sequel to Scary Movie, is a send-up of slasher movies, ghost stories, and haunted houses. Exaggerated cartoon violence -- falls, fierce fights, in-your-face scares, blood, monsters and skeletons, burning, gunfire, gross-out wounds -- is continuous, with no serious injuries or deaths. Obscene language and swearing is also non-stop (i.e., "f--k," the "N" word, "s--t"), with jokes and sight gags about racial discrimination, religion, disabilities, ejaculation, rape, penis enhancement, homosexuality, masturbation, and more. There are multiple scenes depicting simulated sex (including oral and anal) -- all with comic intent. Alcohol consumption and drug use are also treated as farce. Not to be left out, vomiting, peeing, farting, and pooping are awarded lots of screen time.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
SCARY MOVIE 2 begins with a brief parody of The Exorcist, with James Woods in the Max von Sydow role as the title character. This is the highlight of the movie, especially when Veronica Cartwright, in the Ellen Burstyn role, segues from singing "Hello Dolly" with her friends to a rousing chorus of "Shake Ya Azz." But it ends with tragedy, and we skip ahead to a year later, when a professor (Tim Curry) and his wheelchair-bound assistant take some students to the mansion where it took place for some paranormal experiments. The rest of the movie is just an avalanche of parodies of everything and anything, from Monica Lewinsky's dress to "The Weakest Link," and violations of every possible standard of good taste. Not one but two handicapped characters are played for laughs (with extended comic use of a withered hand), and there is something to offend everyone.
Is it any good?
Though a slight improvement over the original, Scary Movie 2 is the same hour and a half of easy, dumb humor. The inane insults, pop culture references, and political incorrectness are all there -- along with gallons and gallons and gallons of bodily fluids. It's not enough to simply insult someone or make a politically incorrect comment or drown someone in excretions. That's the easy part. The tricky part, and the worthwhile part, is to make those things funny, and this movie misses so often that its hits seem almost inadvertent. So what we have is a lot of fake and lazy attempts at humor. They may have the rhythm and cadence of jokes, but there is nothing really funny inside.
On the other hand, the movie is so cheerfully unassuming about being in the worst possible taste that it is hard to be bothered by it. Woods and Tori Spelling (!) should get good sport Oscars, but the other cast members are mostly forgettable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the process and role of parody and satire in helping us to see what we take for granted in a new way. How does this movie poke fun at thrillers?
What is the appeal of gross-out humor? Who does it appeal to most?
Did you understand all the pop culture references, or are they out of date now?
- In theaters: July 3, 2001
- On DVD or streaming: December 18, 2001
- Cast: Anna Faris, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans
- Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans
- Studio: Dimension
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: extremely graphic and gross material and some violence
- Last updated: September 17, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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