Since the "Scary Movie" franchise is about to be five films deep and thirteen years old, it may be easy to forget that the franchise began with the Wayans Brothers. With the eldest brother Keenen Ivory behind the camera, Shawn and Marlon Wayans both had a hand in writing the screenplay for the original two films, as well as on-screen supporting roles alongside newcomer-at-the-time Anna Faris. "Scary Movie" riffed on the mid-to-late 90's slasher flick, a genre that came into prominence with the release(and subsequent success) of Wes Craven's "Scream." The film relied on plenty of crude humor for laughs, but it also had some genius moments, like the mockery of the Deputy Dewey character from Craven's slasher and the homage to "The Usual Suspects" that closes out the film. More importantly, it was just plain hilarious.
Jump ahead thirteen years, and Marlon Wayans is now riffing on the found-footage horror genre(think "Paranormal Activity"). He's written the screenplay with new writer Rick Alvarez, but perhaps there should have been a whole team of writers like his other hit parody. "A Haunted House" has maybe fifteen minutes of good material, but then it just starts repeating the same jokes over and over again.
The film starts on a high note, as Malcolm(Wayans) is trying out his new camera on the day his girlfriend is moving in. While he's filming her pulling into the driveway, she accidentally runs over his dog. In a panic, he tries to give the dog CPR, and then takes off running down the street with the lifeless corpse in his arms, legs flailing like a crazy person. Moments later, the viewer witnesses the dogs funeral. It's pure silliness, but it is expected from a parody movie(especially with a Wayans brother involved), and it kind of works.
Much like how Malcolm realizes the bad side to living with his girlfriend, the audience quickly learns the downside to "A Haunted House." Of course the film features the scene of his girlfriend breaking wind in her sleep, but what isn't expected is how long the scene goes on for. The trailer moment wasn't all that funny to begin with, but the full scene just runs the fart joke into the ground. It's a surprise that the studio wouldn't cut this down to a PG-13 rating, because that would be the perfect mentality for a joke like this, done-to-death.
Cedric the Entertainer manages to squeeze a few laughs from his extremely stereotypical role, but the rest of his talents(as well as the rest of the supporting players') go to waste. David Koechner and Nick Swardson can both be funny, but their characters here just aren't. And sadly enough, when the same characters show up at the end of the movie, it's clear that Wayans and Alvarez just ran out of new ideas. Perhaps it doesn't matter, because by that point boredom has already set in.
Some might recognize Dave Sheridan as Bob, the cameraman for the cable access ghost hunting show that he and Dan the Security Man(Koechner) host. Sheridan played Doofy in the original "Scary Movie." Unfortunately, that's the closest "A Haunted House" will ever get to being on par with that film. Stay home and rent that and "Scary Movie 2" instead.