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  Amazon Women on the Moon Stay TunedBuy this film here.
Year: 1985
Director: Joe Dante, Carl Gottlieb, John Landis, etc
Stars: Arsenio Hall, Monique Gabrielle, Lou Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer, Griffin Dunne, Joe Pantoliano, Steve Forrest, Sybil Danning, David Alan Grier, Rosanna Arquette, Steve Guttenberg, Henry Silva, Belinda Balaski, Robert Picardo, Ed Begley Jr, Carrie Fisher
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: A businessman (Arsenio Hall) flies into town, drives back through the streets and reaches home, a neat apartment. Now he can relax, but when he makes himself a sandwich and gets a can of beer, things begin to go wrong: for a start, when he opens the beer, it sprays all over his face, and when he takes a bite from his sandwich it tastes disgusting and he has to spit it out. Putting the rest in the waste disposal, he switches it on but it grabs his tie and threatens to pull him in - and that's not the worst of it.

The Kentucky Fried Movie is a genuine cult classic of a comedy, but its follow up, which had no input from the Zucker Brothers or Jim Abrahams, fared less well in the great scheme of things. John Landis was still involved, although did not direct every segment having handed over the reins to a collection of his cohorts including Joe Dante, but that brash, crass and inventive level of humour was not so much in evidence. The original could legitimately be described as one of the funniest of its kind, but here the laughs were fewer and farther between.

For a start, the idea of a sketch comedy movie was out of fashion by the time this was released, after a spate of such things in the seventies and early eighties, but Amazon Women on the Moon was distributed two years after it was shot, which should offer some indication of how much demand for it there was, no matter that there were some fairly big stars of the day featured in the lineup. Yet it was not all a dead loss, as it may have been judged inferior, but there were a handful of decent chuckles to be gained here, if not a plethora of genuinely hilarious gags that would have you rolling on the floor.

Or however you prefer to indicate your expressions of mirth. The conceit was that we were watching a late night TV station trying to broadcast the old fifties sci-fi flick of the title, and we did indeed continue to return to its creaky charms, a nicely realised if not sidesplitting facsimile of one of those low budget fantasies where the crew of a manned space flight go to the Moon and meet the female inhabitants - Cat Women of the Moon, Queen of Outer Space, that sort of territory. But there was funnier fare to be had in the shorter sketches, although some of them stretched out one weak joke to snapping point a little too often.

More engaging moments included David Alan Grier in the charity drive for Blacks without Soul, something he turns into a career as he records middle of the road "classics" (then gets funky with Joy to the World), Ed Begley Jr as the Son of the Invisible Man - except he's not actually invisible, simply naked and deluded, or Monique Gabrielle as a "Pethouse Plaything" who lives her days without any clothes, even in the street. The funeral sequence where a bunch of seasoned stand-ups like Henny Youngman and Rip Taylor do their shtick at a wake offered some giggles, and Henry Silva asking if Jack the Ripper was the Loch Ness Monster on Bullshit or Not? was amusing too, but while it was all daft enough, and contained references to pop culture in abundance, none of it ever felt as if you were watching top notch material. Some nice ideas, but most of the time it was all a bit obvious. Music by Ira Newborn.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Joe Dante  (1946 - )

American director of science fiction and horror, a former critic who got his big break from Roger Corman directing Hollywood Boulevard. Piranha was next, and he had big hits with The Howling and Gremlins. But his less successful films can be as interesting: Explorers didn't do as well as he had hoped, but illustrated the love of pop culture that is apparent in all his work.

Other films include flop sequel turned cult favourite Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Innerspace, the underrated The 'burbs, Matinee (a more obvious tribute to the movies of his youth), Small Soldiers, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, The Hole and Burying the Ex.

Carl Gottlieb  (1938 - )

American writer, actor and director who got his start with comedy troupe The Committee, then went on to write for television (The Smothers Brothers, Bob Newhart). He is best known for adapting Jaws, and co-writing two of the sequels, but he also directed Caveman, segments of Amazon Women on the Moon and various television shows. He acted in M*A*S*H, Cannonball and The Jerk (for which he provided the story).

John Landis  (1950 - )

American writer-director who made a big splash in the comedy genre, starting with The Kentucky Fried Movie, Animal House and The Blues Brothers. An American Werewolf in London was an innovative blend of comedy and horror, and remains his best film.

Mega-hit Trading Places followed, but after a tragic accident on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie, Landis' talent seemed to desert him, and he offered up some increasingly unimpressive comedies. He returned briefly to horror with Innocent Blood, and after a long spell away helmed Brit comedy Burke and Hare; he also directed Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and "Black or White" videos.

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