Friday, December 19, 2014

Film Review: A Haunted House 2 (2014)

A Haunted House 2 (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...takes a turn for the better about halfway through."

A year after the events of the first film, Malcolm Johnson (Marlon Wayans) moves in with his new family and finds himself haunted by the past.

A Haunted House 2 is more of the same. The story follows Malcolm as he moves into a new house with his new family, which consists of Megan (Jaime Pressly), his stepdaughter Becky (Ashley Rickards) and his stepson Wyatt. He also finds himself with an eccentric neighbor, Miguel (Gabriel Iglesias). The haunting occurs from Abigail, a doll Malcom has sexual relations with, a box Becky finds, and Wyatt's imaginary friend. The plot basically jumps from spoof to spoof -- that's it, don't expect anything else. The ending was abrupt and, like the movies it spoofs, it leaves room for another sequel.

A Haunted House 2 is a very basic comedy -- it's a spoof. Fortunately, it doesn't really need to be anything else. The film works as a basic comedy. It's not perfect, though. Although it has some highlights, I thought the first half was outweighed by bland and repetitive jokes/gags. Having sex with a doll was humorous for a minute, it was boring for every minute afterward -- this is unfortunately a gag that goes on and on... and on. The same with the dog gag that ran for so long.

The film, however, takes a turn for the better about halfway through. This is were hilarious characters like Father Doug Williams (Cedric the Entertainer) and Miguel take a stronger presence. In fact, the second half of the film brings a bright cast of raunchy and eccentric characters into the mix, which is refreshing. Much like the first film, Cedric the Entertainer was the highlight of the film. I laughed out loud during his first scene in this film -- hilarious. The second half of the film easily redeems the many shortcomings of the first half.

Marlon Wayans is great as the lead. Sometimes he has a little too much energy, but he also has charisma and screen presence -- definitely makes the film more lively and vibrant. Like I said, Cedric the Entertainer is great. Although none of the roles are demanding, the supporting cast is strong. Otherwise, the film is technically competent, it doesn't excel in cinematography or music. Director Michael Tiddes creates an energetic comedy, but the film severely lacks a natural flow. It feels like it simply jumps from scene to scene without a bridge. One moment where in this spoof, then in the next, followed by another.

Overall, A Haunted House 2 is a decent comedy. I didn't love it or hate it, but I had a good time. Some of the jokes and gags fall flat, especially the repetitive jokes, but some are hilarious -- the humor can be seriously hit-or-miss depending on your preference. If you're looking to kill an hour and a half, this is a solid comedy. If you're looking for something "sophisticated," search elsewhere. Although this is a suitable substitute, I'd love to see the Wayans work on Scary Movie again... or, at least bring Shawn Wayans into the Haunted House mix.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood, sex and nudity.

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