Thursday, April 24, 2014

Coneheads (1993) Review:

Dan Aykroyd is known for making good comedy films. Whether it's The Blues Brothers (1980) or Ghost Busters (1984), Aykroyd had something during his prime that made people gravitate towards his comedic films. Along with performing with other cast members of SNL, this particular title was an actual skit ten years before in 1983. My question is, who thought it would be a great idea to make it a movie a decade later? Was the skit that memorable? That's taking a large gamble. The story is about a group of aliens with cone shaped heads that crash land and have to conform to life on earth. It's not even close to an original concept (except for the conehead aspect), but it does have some have positive ends to it.

Yup, problem here
Playing the coneheads are Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, and Michelle Burke - all three of which have faded from today's contemporary films. Their acting isn't bad but the personalities either come off as too dry or too familiar. Aykroyd plays his role like the shadow of Raymond Stantz from Ghost Busters (1984), with fast dialog and vocabulary that is either never heard of or too scientific for most viewers. Curtin plays her role to match Aykroyd but rarely will audiences feel a connection to them. Burke's role is possibly the only connection that most audiences would have, considering she sounds normal and not like her robotic parents. Even then, her character arc isn't developed fully.

Even more surprising is not only was this idea from SNL, but the writers behind this movie including Dan Aykroyd, were from SNL. I'm not sure how these guys created a screenplay that has obvious continuity errors and issues that aren't addressed. For example, why does Michelle Burke's character have normal teeth while her parents have pointed teeth? Or, how is that everyone that the coneheads run into are totally fine with their deformed craniums? Is everybody this accepting here on planet earth? Surely someone would make a buzz over it; considering that the head of deporting illegal immigrants, Gorman Seedling (Michael Mckean) wants to send them back to where they came from. How come he's the only character who finds them abnormal? Comedy works when people notice and react to strange events. But in this film, rarely do people react at all to the conehead family as if they were aliens. This creates a disconnect in the audience. Also, how is this film rated PG? There is some sexual humor in here that I don't think is suitable for a PG rating.

Mr. Chris Farley
Neglecting this though, there are scenes that do have their moments. Particularly the life style that the coneheads live is cooky. Helping with some of these chuckle moments are the special and practical effects. Some of it is noticeably and other times it's not. Overall that element was ok. Adding to some of the nostalgia of this 90s film is the large cast of the "in crowd" stars. Celebrities like David Spade, Sinbad, Drew Carey, Jon Lovitz, the late Chris Farley, Jason Alexander (with a full head of hair) and even Adam Sandler have appearances. Some have bigger roles than others, but it's commendable enough just to even see them. The music provided by David Newman was heard but it was forgettable. There weren't any tunes that really stood out. It's by no means bad - it's just average for a comedy.

The main leads try their best to give their characters charm, but the comedy only seems to work when other well-known faces are on screen. This leaves the in between scenes with nothing to remember them by, making only a part of the film worth a watch.

Points Earned --> 5:10

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