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   Click for more: celebrities | movie reviews

Scary Movie 3

The first one was an original.

The second one was not, but it had a riotous vomiting scene from "The Exorcist," a trash-talk war between disabled characters and enough booty and marijuana jokes to prompt giggles from even the most jaded movie-goer.

"Scary Movie 3," however, is on autopilot -- a guaranteed moneymaking machine that has the formula down pat: Spoof, laugh, laugh, spoof; stupid, stupid, stupid, funny.

If you toss out a joke every 10 seconds, something will stick. And teenage boys will arrive in hordes, because the movie leads off with Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy (who are actually humorous) and the Coors twins.

But the spark that made the first "Scary Movie" such a cultural touchstone has gone AWOL.

The golden goose formula is to roast a bunch of movies with a plot that makes no sense and skits so politically incorrect that even Bill Maher would flinch. "Forbidden Broadway" has used a variation upon this theme to much success for 20 years. But the reason that works is because everyone only goes to the theater once.

Director David Zucker, best known for the groundbreaking "Airplane!" and "Naked Gun," takes his first shot at the "Scary Movie" comedy helm, and brings Leslie Nielsen in for a cameo as the president of the United States. Nielsen, brilliant in "Airplane!", barely registers here.

Still, "Scary Movie 3" knows its audience and stays close to the films they favor, spoofing "The Ring," "Signs," "8 Mile" and "Matrix Reloaded," among others. Since getting the references to other movies is 80 percent of the fun, it helps to do your homework.

Anna Faris, the spunky brunette of the first two "Scary" movies, is now a blonde reporter who wants to do hard-hitting stories on important topics like alien invasions instead of soft features like breast implants.

Anthony Anderson, who makes me laugh every time I see him ("Barbershop," "Kangaroo Jack" and the new WB comedy "All About the Andersons"), did it again as the Mekhi Phifer character in Eminem's semi-autobiographical "8 Mile." In fact, the film is loaded with real rap stars, including Fat Joe, Method Man and Master P.

Charlie Sheen takes on Mel Gibson's farmer dad role from "Signs," using his trademark raised eyebrow as the straight man to his younger brother, played to moron perfection by Simon Rex.

I much preferred the alien peeing scenes, the crude horse pooping visuals or even the Pamela Anderson sex jokes to one extended riff on a kid with bad luck. The little boy is constantly getting walloped -- by cars, doors, farm tools -- has a teacher who screams profanities at him and a creepy priest for a baby sitter.

For anyone who reads the news, that's not funny.

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