To say that Scary Movie 3 isn’t as bad as its predecessor is kind of like saying the plain vanilla yogurt is better than the moldy plain vanilla yogurt. They’re both kind of gross but at least one isn’t harmful, and if you add some things to it, perhaps it might start to taste good. I’m not going to tell you what to add to Scary Movie 3, but I’m sure you can find something that will make it funnier and far more enjoyable.

The plot this time around is a mix of Signs and The Ring, with a bit of 8 Mile thrown in for good(?) measure. Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris) is now a reporter at the local news station, and she goes through the basic Ring storyline. She watches the videotape that kills you in seven days, and she decides she’d rather not die, so she tries to figure out what is behind the deaths. Meanwhile, farmer Tom Logan (Charlie Sheen) wakes up to find a crop circle on his farm, and then … actually doesn’t do a whole lot in the movie. The aliens eventually invade but the Tom character is mostly wasted.

Oh, and there’s also this white rapper, George (Simon Rex), the brother of Tom, who does a bit of the 8 Mile plot, and also fulfills the role of the love interest in the Ring storyline. None of this feels like an organic blend. The different plots collide but not that often, and when they do they really don’t feel like they should. They’re vastly different and while this is a parody film, even the jovial, spoofing nature doesn’t work to properly combine the different stories.

I remarked about Scary Movie 2 that strictly adhering to the foundation film’s plot limits the freedom and creativity that the filmmakers have to work with. This film tries to stick to two plots, while briefly interluding into the 8 Mile story. But it does differ enough to allow for some really weird digressions, like a couple of secondary characters from The Matrix Reloaded showing up out of nowhere. Sure, it’s all a mess and if you’re looking for coherency you’ll want to look elsewhere, but the film would probably say “that’s the point.”

This is the first film in the series not to be directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans. Instead, spoof legend David Zucker is at the helm. There’s little difference between the styles. I think there might have been even more bodily fluid humor this time around, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the change in director or writers. It’s likely more just the logical progression of things. Scary Movie 2 had more barf and poop jokes than the first film, so this one having even more isn’t terribly surprising.

A lot of the comedy also revolves around characters getting beat up. It seemed like we couldn’t go more than a couple of scenes without Cindy’s adopted son, Cody (Drew Mikuska), taking some sort of physical punishment. It just gets kind of old, I suppose, and the fact that there are some scenes where the characters don’t even react in a deadpan fashion further ruins it. There’s a definite lack of freshness to Scary Movie 3, and they even waited a couple of years before making this one, unlike the single year between the first and second films.

I did laugh at some of Scary Movie 3. Like the first film, the jokes are thrown at the audience at such a rapid manner that some of them are bound to work. Maybe the success rate is 25% this time, but because of the sheer number of jokes and gags, that actually winds up being a rather high number of hits. Possibly more than most of the comedies you’ll see released. As a result, the affirmative answer is given to the question “is it funny?”

There are some bigger names popping up in this installment. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. In a serious movie, it might be distracting. “Hey, it’s that guy,” you’d shout and be taken out of the experience. But in this type of film, it kind of works. Leslie Nielsen, Queen Latifah, George Carlin, Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Denise Richards, Jeremy Piven and Simon Cowell all show up in relatively small roles and they’re funny because “hey, it’s that guy/girl doing silly things in a comedy.”

Is Scary Movie 3 good? No. But is it funny enough to be a watchable film? Sure, I guess. I laughed enough to say that if you decide to watch it, you’ll probably laugh enough to say it wasn’t a complete waste of time. Its humor is largely of the bodily fluid and physical pain variety, although there’s something here for everyone. Its plot is a mess, it’s all over the place, and that kind of works. I don’t think Scary Movie 3 is great, but for what it is, I guess it’s somewhat successful.