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Monday, September 19, 2011

My 100 Worst Films of the 90's - 83 - The Stupids (1996)

This movie, based on a series of books for kids, has what just may be the worst premise ever.  The basic plot of the film involves Stanley Stupid (Ton Arnold) discovering that someone has stolen his garbage from his can by the road.  This leads to a conspiracy-theory-ridden story that inadvertently gets them involved in an arms deal.  His mail, which reads “Return to Sender,” also leads him to believe that the man behind the conspiracy is this Mr. Sender.

This movie is based on a series of stupid misunderstandings.  Such as when the kids get a computer error reading “Fatal Error: Drive B” they assume that their father’s life is threatened by the D”rive Bee”.  This, as all of the idiocy of this film seems to do, leads us to another pratfall or silly set piece filled with mistaken identity and misunderstanding.  Also, a fundamental flaw with the plot is never addressed and I want answers!  How come the Stupids never noticed their trash being taken out before, and why do they take it to the curb in the first place?!  I don’t believe the writers of this film cared enough about this script to give it that level of attention.  I can make the same safe assumption with everyone involved, including and especially the director John Landis!  John-freaking-Landis directed this piece of crap!  Come on people!!!

The problem with the Stupids (besides the cartoon acting and dreadful production value) is that the movie is boring.  Once you realize the joke pattern “someone reads or hears something and then thinks it’s something else, then that misunderstanding gets another character in a compromising situation”, there really isn’t much to laugh at.  There isn’t a plot.  The arms deal situation is designed to stretch the movie out, but it doesn’t actually mean anything.  The fact that they inadvertently save the world is also dumb, because even with the bad guys talking, there never really seems to be a threat to the world from these lame villains.

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