With his brother Jerry and pal Jim Abrahams, David Zucker helped invent a new kind of comedy that's still with us today.
Airplane! (1980) -- Directed with David Zucker and Jerry Zucker. The fact that we still think this is funny even though no one much remembers it as a parody of Airport says something. One of the most important comedy films ever made, creating a new sub-genre (most of the followers badly done) of comedy. Of course, it also (along with The Naked Gun) made sure Leslie Neilson would never get a serious job again, but oh well. (See Ken Finkleman for the sequel, Airplane II: The Sequel.)
The Naked Gun (1988) -- Based on their Police Squad! TV show (one of the funniest shows ever on television), this movie was just as successful at being funnier, and maybe even more funny than Airplane! (See below for the sequel, The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear.)
The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991) -- Perhaps I'll watch it again one day, but I remember this one being a less-funny version of the first. (See above for the predecessor, The Naked Gun. (Peter Segal directs the sequel, The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.)
BASEketball (1998) -- Though it was written and directed by David Zucker and has lots of his brand of humor, what's makes it different and funny is Trey Parker and Matt Stone, both as actors and their obvious input into the script and jokes. It seems like there was a basic outline written for the movie that they (and their friend "Squeak") riffed on while filming and you could almost file this under a Trey and Matt movie more than a Zucker one. The jokes are really fast and funny and grounded in a good way.
Scary Movie 3 (2003) -- Directed with David Zucker. Scary Movie 2 went horribly wrong, so it was a relief to hear the Zucker brothers would take a crack at the next two sequels. By now their version of parody that they invented in the 80s is kind of old, even sweet, so it doesn't have any of the bite that the first Scary Movie had. But it doesn't just suck like the second one either. For the most part it's pretty funny, though I'll be damned if I can actually remember what any of the jokes were. Of course Leslie Neilson had to show up (someone give him a serious role again, please). (See Keenen Ivory Wayans for the predecessor, Scary Movie 2. See David Zucker for the sequel, Scary Movie 4.)
Scary Movie 4 (2006) -- Twenty-six years ago, Airplane! parodied the Airport movies, and -- even though not many people have seen Airport -- Airplane! still holds up on its own because it didn't rely on simply our recognition of what they were making fun of. The jokes were original and worked on their own. In Scary Movie 4, however, as a senile old man, Zucker has forgotten what good parody is and simply re-creates scenes from War of the Worlds, Saw, The Village, The Grudge, and others and adds a little bit of stupid zaniness: mostly people getting hit in the head in non-funny ways. And if the jokes work at all, it's because people recognize what's being parodied, but none of the movies they do will go down as classics (probably) so no one will even know what's going on in ten years. Worse, the movie turns into a movie version of VH1's The Best Week Ever by referring to things that won't make sense in half a year. Take the parody of Tom Cruise on Oprah Winfrey. If anyone remembers this in the future, they'll remember how weird the real Tom Cruise was. The absurdist jokes the movie added to the scene won't be as weird or funny as the original thing, so isn't funny at all. The best you can hope for while watching this is that someone will say "Remember that?" or "Hey, that looks like that movie" or "Huh huh, they mentioned MySpace." (See above for the predecessor, Scary Movie 3.)
Copyright (c) Nov 2002 - Sep 2007 by Rusty Likes Movies