Illegal AliensReviewed By David Cornelius
Posted 04/30/07 21:52:32
So here it is, Anna Nicole Smith’s last movie. Had this been released, say, this time last year, “Illegal Aliens” would be dismissed as some forgettable chunk of direct-to-video terribleness. Alas, news of Smith’s death left the film with something of a potential infamy - with the starlet back in the news and on the minds of the pop culture savvy, a certain extra attention could be thrown its way. Don’t let the bad timing fool you. “Illegal Aliens” remains an unwatchably inept attempt at comedy.Three shape-shifting aliens - Smith, Lenise Sorén, and Gladys Jimenez - are sent to Earth to protect it from outside evils; they come to our planet disguised as beautiful women “because really hot chicks have it easy.” We know all of this because we get two separate prologues that explain the concept over and over, and then we get a dialogue exchange some ten minutes later that re-explains it, because, I suppose, there is the chance that in the brief time these women are not on screen, we may have forgotten what movie we were watching.
Of the three aliens, named Lucy, Cameron, and Drew (get it??!!), two are smart and one is stupid to the point of obnoxiousness. (Guess which one Anna Nicole plays.) They arrive in New York in 1987 and immediately decide to set up shop in Hollywood, making money as models and TV stars until they get called into service, although I’m not sure how becoming international superstars helps them maintain the “low profile” they’re always talking about.
The rest of the film takes place “three years later,” and who knew Justin Timberlake jokes, cell phone usage, the internet, and the E! cable network were so big in 1990? So you see what kind of movie we’re stuck with here.
The plot, as it were: a villainous alien named Rex has traveled to Earth, taking over the body of a mob boss’ wife (Joanie “Chyna” Laurer). With some moronic henchmen in tow, she sets out to steal the materials to make a “Megagravitron,” which will pull the moon into the Earth, or something. Meanwhile, there’s some bumbling INS agent (Michael J. Valentine) who keeps trying to arrest the gals for being “illegal aliens,” har har.
In an attempt to parody the openings of “Superman” and “Star Wars” at the same time, the film kicks off with swooping credits that then make room for a giant spaceship with a bumper sticker reading “My other ride is Uranus.” This is the movie’s idea of wit, and sadly, it’s the least terrible moment in the entire damn thing.
Other jokes include Anna Nicole shoving a dildo into her ear (because, you see, she’s too stupid to know what it is), Anna Nicole having diarrhea, and Anna Nicole falling over. Laurer, meanwhile, attempts to camp it up by screaming all of her lines - and I mean all of them - resulting in a performance even more grating than Smith’s own half-assed, giggly send-up of her airhead image. The script drops in a handful of “the characters know they’re in a movie, and isn’t that hilarious?” jokes, all of which sink like a rock. A major plot point involves “mind-control suppositories.” A running gag in which Rex shoots a certain henchman in every scene would be clever if the filmmakers knew anything about comic timing.
Indeed, the whole thing’s a giant incomprehensible mess, a how-not-to example of movie editing. Scenes come and go without the faintest understanding as to the rhythms of storytelling or the basics of filmmaking. Gags linger way too long, stinking up the screen in poorly framed shots.
All of the action sequences, then (and yes, there are far too many action sequences), are built around stock footage stolen from other movies. “Hey,” I can imagine a producer saying, “we have a clip of a guy falling out of an airplane! Ooh, here’s another of a dude leaping from a sports car onto a semi truck! Let’s find a way to put that in our script!” And so they did, leaving the story to become a slapdash collection of undercooked scenes set around exploding buildings, or car chases, or giant spiders - whatever spare goodies were left over in the editing room from the previous couple of pictures. (To disguise this, the filmmakers green-screened their actors in front of still frames from such footage. It doesn’t work.)
In one scene, two of the heroines tell Anna Nicole Smith to “turn into a car,” which she apparently can do. (Shape-shifter, remember?) I mention this because I’m sure a few of you are still thinking, “hey, for an Anna Nicole Smith movie, this doesn’t sound that bad.” To which I reply: this is a movie in which Anna Nicole Smith turns into a car. Sound bad yet?
“Illegal Aliens” comes to us from Vermont-based Edgewood Studios, best known for low-budget direct-to-video junkers with titles like “Radical Jack,” “Ice Queen,” and “Trapped: Buried Alive.” The script is from Ben Coello, a studio vet making his writing debut; the direction is from studio honcho David Giancola, whose first film, “Time Chasers,” is fondly remembered by “Mystery Science Theater 3000” fans as that dopey movie about the time traveling Cessna and the junior colleges of the future!! By mixing Giancola’s ineptitude with unyieldingly awful campy humor and disastrous performances by all involved, “Illegal Aliens” is unquestionably the worst film the studio has ever produced.“Who do I have to screw to get out of this movie?” Anna Nicole yells at one key point, and we know exactly how she feels. Did I mention she turns into a car?
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