Movie review: 'Haunted House 2' is too much of a bad thing

MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNEApril 18, 2014 

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Gabriel Iglesias and Marlon Wayans in the horror-genre parody “A Haunted House 2.”

  • A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 • 1/2•

    Rated: R for crude and sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violent images. Starring: Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Cedric the Entertainer, Gabriel Iglesias. Director: Michael Tiddes. Running time: 87 minutes. Theaters: Edwards 22 and Edwards 9, Edwards 14 and Edwards 12 in Nampa, Majestic 18 and Village Cinema in Meridian.

Imagine a Venn diagram charting three qualities: silly, gross and dumb. At the point where they overlap you will find the fright film spoof "A Haunted House 2," a scattershot, anything-goes affair that's unapologetically stupid.

Proudly stupid. Aggressively stupid.

The film is writer/star Marlon Wayans' take on suburban ghost stories. Putting himself at the center of that usually lily-white genre gives him a target-rich environment for broad, politically incorrect satire.

The first entry in the series gave Wayans' upwardly mobile new homeowner a head-spinning freakshow of a girlfriend (we've all been there, right, guys?). Those demons banished, he takes another shot at suburban life with his new girlfriend (Jaime Pressly) and her two teenagers.

Once again the road to settling down and relationship building is strewn with supernatural stumbling blocks. Wayans is repeatedly hypnotized by a chalk-faced, creepy-eyed antique doll whose erotic magic sends him into a mating frenzy, typically when Pressly or her kids are approaching the bedroom door.

The star's gymnastic, flesh-baring humping and randy pillow talk is funny at first. It's not the kind of joke that improves with repetition, though. Wayans beats it to death, then to smithereens, then to dust.

The film parodies a lot of movies that deserve it (its basic framework comes from the "Paranormal Activity" series, the doll from "The Conjuring") and one or two that deserve better (the sublimely scary "Sinister" gets a thorough drubbing, turning its occult killer into an accident-prone klutz).

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