Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Haunted House 2

What Did I Know Going In

  • It's a parody movie.
  • Make that "parody" movie.  Nobody knows what that word actually means anymore.
  • It's probably not very good.

Initial Impressions

  • Looks cheap.
  • I think I've seen all these actors before in better movies.

The Plot, As Far As I Can Tell

Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) has recently married a white woman with two kids.  The movie seems to find this interracial coupling endlessly amusing for reasons beyond me.  Maybe it's a black thing?

Anyway, Malcolm apparently had another girlfriend, Kisha, at one point, but she either died or was possessed or something.  I'm not really sure.  Kisha shows up at the beginning for a quick scene where she, Malcolm, and Malcolm's crazy-eyed cousin get into a car accident, which is never referred to again, and then she shows up again here and there so Malcolm can shriek into the camera for comic effect.  I'm assuming this would have made more sense if I watched the first one.

So, let's just pretend I didn't just write a paragraph about Kisha, because the movie sure doesn't give a shit.

Malcolm and his new family (who are white, and this is funny) move into a house next door to Gabriel Iglesias (who is Mexican, which is also funny because did you ever notice that Mexicans are Mexican?) and basically just fuck around for twenty minutes or so.  Then Malcolm finds a creepy doll and has sex with it for a really, really long time.

A bunch of other loosely-related nonsense happens that ambiguously references horror movies from the last five years, and then eventually a couple of impersonations of the Warrens from The Conjuring tell Malcolm that his house is haunted by a demon.  They try to exorcise it, there's a bunch of farts or something, maybe a penis, and then the demon is gone and there's some more jokes about the differences between races.

(Did you ever notice how black people say things like "gonna slap a bitch" and white people say things like "these cunts gotta serve their husbands, for he is their LORD in the household, may they bear my seventeen incest babies and fight my Holy War, o thou pitiful one?"  Daaaaaamn, son.)

Then Kisha comes back and kills his family.  The end.

What I Liked

So, I can't help myself.  Even after watching A Haunted House 2, I still really like Marlon Wayans.

He's normally a really funny dude, and even in this abomination he gives it his all.  Some of the non-jokes actually managed to... well, they didn't work, but I cracked a smile, anyway.  It's not that the movie is funny - it's just that Wayans has such infectious affability and energy that you really, really wish you were laughing.

For that matter, a lot of the cast actually does try their hardest with the crappy material, and a few of them actually manage to pull it off.  Affion Cockett, who is only briefly in the beginning and end as Malcolm's cousin Ray-Ray, was surprisingly fun to watch and had me giggling even though the movie didn't earn it at all.  And Cedric the Entertainer - when he's not whacking out and just has a chance to riff - has a handful of throwaway lines that end up being probably the funniest parts of the whole movie.

What I Didn't Like

You might have guessed by now, but I did not generally find this movie funny.

It has genuinely funny people in it, it has some terrific set-ups for comedy, it's playing off of material that's ripe for parody, and there's even legitimate jokes that seem like they should work.  And yet it rarely comes together in a way that's digestible.

Part of it is that so many of the jokes aren't really jokes at all.  Like when Malcom's step-daughter writes in her diary that she "went to a blowjob party with 40 guys" and "will never stop sucking dicks."  Like... that's not actually a joke.  That's just a premise.  At best, it's the most one-dimensional character you can come up with.  A joke would be something like if you had a sex-crazed teenager who thought she was going to a blowjob party, but got the address mixed up and ended up going to a eunuch party instead.

Part of the problem is that there's just too much energy.  I know I literally just said that Wayans's energy is infectious, but the movie never tries to reign it in, so he ends up just stomping all over everybody's lines.  Combine that with the editor's habit of jump-cutting every three seconds and it feels like a breakneck barrage of lines that are being shot at you with a machine gun. The result is that jokes that could - or even should - work simply don't because there's just not enough time to let them land.

But maybe the worst problem is that so many of the jokes are simply bland and predictable.  There's a nerdy white professor guy.  Naturally he's going to be a drug-pushing gangsta who occasionally says things like "Thug Life."  Is that an old person?  There's no way they're going to do something sexual and/or curse... oh wait, they did!  Hilarious!  Is that guy going to prison?  I hear that in prison, you never ever get raped and.... oh snap!  He's getting raped!

The weakest and lamest thing people do when they can't come up with something that's actually clever is to default to the raunchiest thing they can think of, and this movie is pretty much just a case study in exactly that.

Here Are Some of My Notes While Watching

  • I can't tell if these are characters I'm supposed to know from the first one or this is just not a well-made movie.
  • Marlon Wayans is trying so hard to make this work.  If it was anybody else, I probably wouldn't have laughed the two times I did.
  • This sex scene is going on way too long.
  • This one, too.
  • I forgot.  What's the plot again?
  • BOX
  • Contrary to popular belief, blowjobs are not inherently comic gold.
  • Ditto prison rape.

Would I Recommend It?


What Do I Think the Prequel Was About

I guess the first one was about Malcolm and Kisha's relationship, which goes south after she gets possessed by a spirit, and maybe it's a parody of FAAAAAAAARRRRRTT.

What Should the Next One Be About

Malcolm goes to the dentist and FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAART vagina.

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