PLOT: The horror spoof series returns, this time tackling "Mama," "Black Swan" and others.
BOTTOM LINE: You know that friend of yours, the one who can't tell even the simplest joke? Watching him struggle for 85 minutes would still be funnier than this movie.
CAST: Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan's cameo is surely the biggest selling point of "Scary Movie 5," so let's get it out of the way first, just as the movie does. It's exactly what you'd expect: Lohan is about to make a sex tape with Charlie Sheen, but first they have to remove their court- ordered tracking devices. Then come the jokes about her driving, his partying and their shared familiarity with the Los Angeles legal system.
This five-minute skit might have been funny if the material weren't so obvious (and if the situation didn't seem so plausible). The "Scary Movie" franchise has never offered the most incisive satire -- remember the "wazzup" routine from the 2000 original? -- but this fifth installment is so feeble, so grindingly uninspired that it may set a comedy record: 85 minutes without a single laugh.
Credit goes to a number of people. Ashley Tisdale, a Disney Channel alum, replaces four-film veteran Anna Faris but doesn't show a glimmer of comic timing; ditto for her co-star Simon Rex. Together they drag themselves through spoofs of "Mama," "Black Swan" and, when the ideas really dry up, "Inception" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." The slapdash direction from Malcolm D. Lee (a cousin of Spike) turns the sight gags into a confusing jumble of slaps and punches, though the writers (including David Zucker, of "Airplane!") don't exactly come up with the sharpest ideas. Remember that mysterious pool-cleaning machine from "Paranormal Activity 2"? Here, it invites all the other machines over for a party.
Even the talented people -- comedian Katt Williams as a fake psychic, high-energy actor Jerry O'Connell in a send-up of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" books -- get chewed up and spit out by this relentless antilaugh machine. "Scary Movie 5" doesn't even have the imagination for a worthwhile gross-out joke. When the best you can offer is a poopy toothbrush, it's time to pack it in.
RATING PG-13 (crude and sexual content throughout, language, some drug material, partial nudity)
CAST Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Lindsay Lohan