- Movie Rating -

Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)

| September 18, 1987

Never has one movie so fit my middling rating of two-and-a-half-stars.  Amazon Women on the Moon is yet another sketch comedy movie like The Groove Tube or Loose Shoes in which the intent is just to throw stupid sketches at us large and small and hope that something will stick.  By the weight of my laugh ratio I can say that I think I laughed about half of the time.  Given the sketch comedy movies that have come before, comparably that makes this one a laugh riot.

Written by John Landis, Robert K. Weiss, Joe Dante, Carl Gottleib and Peter Horton, the movie’s framing device is set up to resemble an unseen viewer flipping channels and finding all manner of weird stuff being broadcast.  None of the stuff has any bearing on what you actually may find while flipping channels – how can one flip channels and never see a single ad for an injury lawyer?.  Stopping at each channel, we witness at least a dozen or so sketches, some funny, some not.

Mildly Funny: Arsenio Hall plays a hapless man who comes home from work and keeps getting into a series of wacky shenanigans involving a beer can, his garbage disposal, his VCR, his bookcase, his trash can and ultimately gravity itself, all while fending off a caller who is looking for someone named Thelma.

Not funny: A nude model (Monique Gabrielle) who was recently chosen as the top “Plaything” for a Penthouse-style magazine goes about her daily routine – the joke being that she does everything while completely naked.  Thank you for the generosity, but where’s the joke?

Mildly funny: Lou Jacobi plays a hapless couch potato who is, for no reason, zapped into his television set and occupies various TV programs while his wife nagging (Erica Yohn) tries to figure out how to get him out: “Can I help it you threw out the directions!”

Not funny: A young couple (Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Horton) has a baby but is given the run-around by an incompetent doctor (Griffin Dunne) who keeps coming up with stupid stunts to keep them from knowing that he lost their child.  This bit is just frustrating.

Not funny: A commercial parody for hair-replacement starring a formerly bald pitchman (Joe Pantiliano) whose remedy is to staple carpet samples to his head.

Very funny: David Alan Grier plays Don “No Soul” Simmons, a black man born without soul who releases an album of the squarest songs ever written: “Close to You,” “Blame it on the Boss Nova,” “Chim-Chim-Cheree,” etc.

Not funny: A nice guy (Steve Guttenberg) arranges a date with a beautiful girl (Rosanna Arquette) who demands two forms of I.D. before going out.  She runs a full background check and finds a volley of things about his past that she doesn’t like.  Slow, boring and obvious.

Mildly funny: A parody of a crime investigation show – like “In Search of” and “Ripley’s Believe It or Not – called ‘Bullshit or Not’ hosted by Henry Silva focusing on the theory that Jack the Ripper might have actually been The Loch Ness Monster.  Just the sight of Nessie in period clothes is funny enough.

Not funny: A weary man watching two film critics (a la Siskel and Ebert) and is stunned when the critics begin reviewing his life.  The man dies of a heart attack which suddenly segues to his funeral which then becomes a comedy roast.

Not funny: A group of pirates on the high seas turn out to be video pirates who steal VHS tapes with the intention of illegally bootlegging them.

Very Funny: Ed Begley Jr. plays the Son of the Invisible Man who stalks the streets of London convinced that he has found a way to replicate his father’s infamous formula.  The problem: He’s not invisible.

Slightly Funny: A parody of Sidney Sheldon-type trash novels featuring Angel Tompkins as The First Lady who has a secret past as a prostitute.  The joke isn’t funny but the pitch for the book at the end is mildly amusing,

Not funny: Matt Adler plays a kid who is about to lose his virginity on a date and only needs condoms to get things underway.  The problem: getting the condoms leads to the expected problems.  Tiresome.

Pretty Funny: A lonely guy (Marc McClure) is given a strange video tape by a sleazy retailer (Russ Meyer) which turns out to be a video of a hot girl (Corrine Wahl) who wants to have virtual sex with him, at least until her boyfriend shows up.

Mildly Funny: A parody/recreation of old VD scare films, this one is called “Reckless Youth” and features Carrie Fisher getting less-than-enthusiastic news from an overly-dramatic doctor (Paul Bartel) who warns of the dangers of casual sex and cigarette smoking.  It’s amusing in concept.

So, I smiled a lot, laughed once or twice and set stone-faced the rest of the time.  These feel like sketch bits that might have fit for “Saturday Night Live” but feel awkward when strung together as a feature film.  But it’s the concept that I am objecting to – this kind of material isn’t funny because it isn’t nearly as bizarre as the stuff currently running on basic cable or daytime TV.  There is nothing written here that compares with your nearest talk show, reality program or local commercial.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy