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iLOL’d: Mom and Dad Save the World.

February 8, 2009

Normally when you pick up a two-dollar sci-fi movie from a liquidation store you don’t expect much.  Especially when the movie’s cover consists of Teri Garr in an outlandish sci-fi dress, some freakazoid in purple, and a guy with no pants.  And even moreso if it has a title like Mom and Dad Save the World.

So when I actually sat down to watch the movie, I was pleasantly surprised.

And I don’t mean the same way as the last two-dollar movie I watched from the same store, in that it was redeemed only by occasional sequences of deadly animals.  I mean that this movie is packed beginning-to-end with laughs.  True, it’s probably the stupidest sci-fi movie of its decade – and the writers will not let you forget that, scattering generous (yet subtle) lampshades throughout the entire idiotic lampshade.

Almost immediately the film reminded me of Monty Python.  Spengo, a small planet ruled by a laughable but surprisingly villainous emperor, is a self-proclaimed planet of idiots.  Said emperor, also named Spengo, has many physical shortcomings and personality flaws of which he is utterly aware but which he tries to pretend do not exist by persuading his personal guards to shower him with platitudes.  When he spies the “lovely” yuppie housewife Marge, he falls instantly in lust and decides that she must become his bride.

There’s just one small problem with his plan: Marge’s husband Dick.

Dick isn’t anything special.  He’s middle-aged, on a special diet, suffers from chronic back pain and spends a large portion of his time complaining.  But when push comes to shove, he steps up to the plate and cuts the mustard – or at least retrieves the secret plans from Eric Idle’s pants.  From there he embarks on a half-cocked journey in which he ends up recruiting a dimwitted tribe of desert-people (led by the children of the former king) and storming Spengo’s palace using a giant statue that “DOES NOT LOOK LIKE ME.  My face is NOT that fat” – Spengo.  Along the way, he is thrown into a dungeon by pint-sized dog men, narrowly avoids being eaten by killer walking mushrooms, suffers multiple falls from insane heights, and manages to obliterate an entire squadron of Spengo’s soldiers using a single “light grenade”.  (“Pull the pin and set it down; if anyone picks it up, they disappear.”  “Who would be stupid enough to do that?”)  It plays out in a scene reminiscent of both classic British humor and some bad-ending roleplaying campaigns.

Judging by its IMDB reviews, Mom and Dad Save the World is a pretty mixed bag.  You either love it for its artistic level of irreverence and idioticy, or you find it to be the stupidest thing in the world – or both.  But if you’re into oddball humor, it’s a surprise gem from the dirt-encrusted depths of the early 90’s.

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