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Sunday, February 5, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 52 - Joe's Apartment (1996)

Joe's Apartment (1996; Warner Bros.

Joe’s Apartment started as a bumper used for the MTV network during commercial breaks.  Apparently somebody thought this one could be a big hit as a movie because they made a full-length feature out of what basically amounted to a commercial.  So how bad can a commercial stretched out to eighty minutes be?  Well, this one has singing cockroaches.

Jerry O’Connell plays Joe, a young guy who arrives in New York City with no plans and no prospects, he just decides to go there.  After getting some help from a punk artist, he finds a rent-controlled apartment.  When he discovers it is populated by hoards of talking cockroaches, the fact that he is unfazed brings the roaches to trust him, so the insects introduce themselves.  The movie actually focuses mainly on these computer-animated cockroaches as they actually break out into song and dance.  Unlike “GOOD” musicals like Singin’ In the Rain, where the songs kind of play off of what is happening on screen, the musical numbers in Joe’s Apartment are pretty much just random toilet humor, and it is all pretty disgusting.

There’s a plot about some slumlord and his goons trying to get Joe to leave so he can demolish that building and put up some big condominiums, and one about a love interest and her garden, but it’s all just filler to stretch the singing cockroach movie out to feature-length.  This is one of those movies where you know there had to have been contention for its production until one person with deep pockets came along and saved it.  Fortunately, it was a lesson because it was a massive flop, and proof that sometimes you need more than just a concept to make a movie work.  This film barely made back one-third of it’s $13 million budget and is proof that singing cockroaches are just too much for American audiences.

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