Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) / Comedy-Sci Fi
MPAA rated R for nudity, some sexual content, and language
Running time: 85 min.
Cast: Arsenio Hall, Michelle Pfeiffer, Peter Horton, Steve Allen, David Alan Grier, Lou Jacobi, Henry Silva, Rosanna Arquette, Steve Guttenberg, Monique Gabrielle, Archie Hahn, Belinda Balaski, Griffin Dunne, Erica Yohn, Robert Picardo, Joe Pantoliano, Ed Begley Jr., Kelly Preston, Carrie Fisher, Sybil Danning, B.B. King, Henny Youngman, Rip Taylor, Slappy White, Jackie Vernon, Charlie Callas, Ralph Bellamy, Jenny Agutter, Howard Hesseman, Marc McClure, Corinne Wahl, Russ Meyer, Andrew Dice Clay, Paul Bartel
Cameo: Phil Hartman, Roxie Roker, T.K. Carter, Bryan Cranston, Dick Miller
Director: Joe Dante, Carl Gottlieb, Peter Horton, John Landis, Robert K. Weiss
Screenplay: Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland
Review published May 26, 2012
Filmed in 1985, this 1987 comedy is an omnibus of sporadic concepts, most of them revolving around the worlds of pop culture, utilizing a common theme of the kinds of things one might see while channel surfing around late-night TV, including cheesy movies, music, and shows, not dissimilar to Kentucky Fried Movie, which features several notable members of the creative team (though most notably director John Landis (Trading Places, An American Werewolf in London) , who also serves as executive producer). The title refers to one of the recurring skits in the film, which is a spoof television presentation of a cheapie sci-fi flick not unlike one you'd find from the 1950s, and film buffs will tell you much of it resembles an actual film with a similar title called Cat Women of the Moon, from 1954.
Other skits include a 'Siskel & Ebert'-like critics show that takes a look at the pathetic life of one of its viewers (Hahn, Meatballs Part II), Ed Begley Jr. (This is Spinal Tap, Private Lessons) running around naked as the 'Son of the Invisible Man" who doesn't know he's not invisible, and Michelle Pfeiffer (The Witches of Eastwick, Scarface) and real-life husband (at the time) Peter Horton (Side Out, 2 Days in the Valley) giving birth to a baby that the bizarre doctor (Dunne, After Hours) substitutes various objects for when the real infant goes missing. A commercial featuring David Alan Grier (From the Hip, Boomerang) cheerfully singing milquetoast show tunes and the like is a spoof on the PSA charity organization commercials asking for help for "Blacks Without Soul".
The film sports five veteran directors that each have their own segments of varying lengths. John Landis starts the film off with fairly unfunny scene of Arsenio Hall (Coming to America, Harlem Nights) having "one of those days when nothing goes right" in his high-rise apartment. The film ends with a better spoof during the credits of one of the old 1950s exploitative scare PSAs regarding syphilis in which Carrie Fisher (Return of the Jedi, The Blues Brothers) goes in for an exam with a sleazy doctor, played by director Paul Bartel (Death Race 2000).
Much of the film is largely forgettable, scoring about one mildly enjoyable hit for every 5 dreadfully awful misses, and exists mostly as a curiosity of a kind of movie that mostly died out with the advent of skit comedy shows on television, such as 'SNL', 'SCTV', 'Mad TV' and others of its ilk. It's more interesting as a concept than as a fully realized product, and much of the fun is mostly had by those who recognize the cameo appearances and can get the little in-jokes the directors scatter throughout the various pieces.
Perhaps if the concept of the film were the "Amazon Women on the Moon" segment with commercial parodies thrown in, there might have been enough to hang one's comedy hat on, but the actual films meant to be taken seriously were even funnier without the satire, so maybe the idea is DOA. For what it is, this production is a conceptual mess with hiccups of inspiration. Watch nearly any episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" to get better results.
Note: Television versions tone down some of the film's more vulgar segments, and replace a couple with different ones not found in the theatrical release.
©2012 Vince Leo