Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Haunted House


The writing was already on the wall. With paranormal found footage films being all the rage recently, there's bound to be a comedian out there who would amalgamate most elements found in various films, put them all in a comedic spin, and make a feature film out of it. This time, Marlon Wayans beat the crowd to put something out there first, co-producing, co-writing and starring as the lead in this madcap comedy that pokes fun primarily at the Paranormal Activity films, with the usual politically-incorrect, toilet humour all making their way into the story-line, if you can call it that.

Those who are not Paranormal Activity fans may not come to enjoy the loads of silly references made in A Haunted House, where CCTV camera footage, and a handheld videocam, together with VHS tapes and a web camera, provide choice footage in and around the home of Malcolm (Wayans). Against good advice, he welcomes his girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins) to co-habitate with him, only for her to bring along her excess spiritual baggage which includes an invisible friend from long ago. Things start to go the Paranormal Activity way with the closing of doors, strange sounds, and the playing with bed linen at night.

While the jokes come thick and fast most of the time, they do seem to be focused around the theme of sex, especially when Malcolm thinks having Kisha stay with him is that open doorway to passionate love each night. And that's where the unexplained ghouls come knocking on their door to exhibit some of the most outrageous physical comedy for the screen. When dialogue comes into play, then it goes the direction of poking fun at the expense of stereotypes, from an effeminate psychic (Nick Swardson) to a gangsta preacher (Cedric the Entertainer), and even more sex-laced comedy no thanks to their swinging best friend couple (Andrew Daly and Alanna Ubach).

Don't expect too much from this comedy and it's alright, although I had the niggling feeling that most of the best bits were already included in the trailer, which will leave you with anticipation for more, but didn't get delivered for that ultimate laughing high. This is one film that you'll either love if you're in the mood for nonsensical comedy, or after that hard day's work, otherwise you may find yourself frowning at just about any antics that the comedians start to pull off. Me? Crass comedies are my guilty pleasure, so I'm lapping up A Haunted House already.

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