Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: John Landis
Stars: Tom Arnold, Jessica Lundy, Bug Hall, Alex McKenna, Mark Metclafe, Matt Keeslar, Christopher Lee, David Cronenberg, Costa Gavras, Norman Jewison.
Probably the most aptly titled film in recent memory, The Stupids is so bad it’s almost offensive. The film starts off as being just plain stupid, and it only gets worse!
After the success of True Lies and his strong scene stealing presence in Nine Months, Tom Arnold sets his career back by playing Stanley Stupid, the impossibly naive and simple-minded head of a suburban family that, collectively, has an IQ in the single digit range. Stanley is a former post man who still espouses far fetched conspiracy theories surrounding the real reasons behind his dismissal.
When he accidentally stumbles upon a real conspiracy involving the illegal sale of military weapons to mercenaries by a couple of disenchanted officer types, Stanley somehow manages to save the day. He blunders his way through several assassination attempts and survives to eventually foil the villains, with some help from his equally as moronic family – wife Joan (Jessica Lundy), son Buster (the intriguingly named Bug Hall) and daughter Petunia (Alex McKenna). The inclusion of a couple of animatronic pets and two coloured aliens only further confuses the loose plot. As a director of popular mainstream entertainment, John Landis has disappointed in the past, but it would take something extra special from him before we could ever forgive him for foisting this moronic, relentlessly tedious and terminally unfunny comedy upon us. As is his habit, Landis has punctuated the film with several high-powered cameos, although in hindsight Christopher Lee and fellow directors David Cronenberg, Costa Gavras and Norman Jewison would probably prefer not to see this idiotic and embarrassing film appear on their resumes. Landis’ direction is flat and laboured, and he fails to wring any laughs out of the abysmal material. Audiences cannot excuse this flat and lame farce as a potentially good idea that has somehow been mishandled, or even dismiss it as a clever genre parody that has not quite worked.
It’s difficult to work out who is the more stupid – those involved in making this insultingly dull comedy, or those who are actually prepared to pay good money to sit through it!