"Scary Movie 4" carries on the not-so-proud tradition of all the great David Zucker films that have come before it: male genitalia and fart jokes.
If those two words just made you blush, this probably isn't the film for you. If you laughed out loud when Leslie Nielsen told an airplane stewardess to not call him "Surely," then you'll probably find "Scary Movie 4" pretty funny — though not nearly as clever.
Better than the third one and less dependent on raunchiness for its sight gags then the first two, "Scary Movie 4" is a plethora of pop culture citations and parodies. If you haven't seen "War of the Worlds" and "The Grudge," the movie will probably make no sense to you. Most of the jokes aren't exactly clever, relying on stupidity to get a laugh (which often works) than wits; though some jokes are down right ingenious.
The bevy of screenwriters must also be given credit for combining not only those completely different movies, but also tossing in a good chunk of references to other movies including "Saw," "Brokeback Mountain," and "The Village." The plot, if it can be called that, is basically there to set up every sight gag and parody: aliens from another planet attack Earth, a dead Japanese child is haunting a house, plus Shaq and Dr. Phil are locked up together in a room a la "Saw."
The movie is full of mid-range cameos including Charlie Sheen, Michael Madsen and Bill Pullman, which make the cultural references all the funnier. The lead actors do a solid job of imitating their famous counter parts, especially Craig Bierko as Tom Ryan, who does a wonderful — though the joke is played out — impression of Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch near the end of the film.
Of course, the best part of any Zucker film is parody film expert Leslie Nielsen, who pretty much has his punch line delivery down to a science and slapstick timing mastered into a fine art. Be warned though that you may see more of Nielsen's body than you ever really wanted to — which was any at all in my case.
"Scary Movie 4" has a joke every minute, but what is seriously lacking from it is that fresh feeling that made the "Naked Gun" and other movies in the same vein all the funnier. Sure there can be a "Scary Movie" made every year, parodying the latest horror and action films, but at some point the jokes get as stale as the stereotypes they are based on.
I'm not saying that it has happened quite yet, but we've been there before ("Mafia," "Naked Gun 33 1/3"), and we'll go there again.