Sunday, October 24, 2010

Comedy?: Lucky Stiff

It's a little-known fact that Anthony Perkins directed a pair of films.  I guess that's the price you pay for being so iconic in one role.  Mind you, the other one was Psycho III, so I guess it's easy to forget.  The other film, as you may have guessed, is this film.  It's a comedy about cannibalism and the recently-cleared Donner party.  Mostly, it's just an excuse to do fat jokes.  Should you get your hopes for this obscure little film or will you just be reminded why it is so?  Get out your rake traps for my review of...
The film tells the tale of a man with luck worse than those rabbits who keep getting their feet cut off for necklaces.  He's set to be married, but his bride changes her the altar.  You couldn't have timed that any less awkwardly, honey?  In spite of that, he still goes on his honeymoon...alone.  That makes for a silly plot, but not a whole lot of sense?  Anyhow, he decides to spend the holidays/his honeymoon in a ski resort, which is just chock full of couples.  To make matters worse, the only room that is left is a honeymoon suite!  Break out the ironic trombone!  More awkward comedy ensues as he pretends to be a couple when talking to a person outside of his hotel room door.  Here's a thought: don't talk to him!  Things look up as he finds a pretty blond woman in the hotel, only to find that she has a boyfriend.  Actually, that's not the whole story.  It all has to do with an earlier scene involving a creepy family at a cottage...
You see, the lady is part of the modern (in 1988) descendants of the Donner Party.  Her family apparently still kills and eats men, just for fun I guess.  The last person they brought him didn't meet the family standards, so a new one had to be found.  Guess who is on the menu now?  We get some silly 'romance' scenes between the two, which mostly consist of the pair posing in front of some bad rear-projection effects.  This will really make you appreciate shitty green screen work that would eventually come!  We also get some goofy physical comedy that is about as cliched as you can get.  Gee, I wonder what will happen when the fat guy goes skiing?  I'm sure he won't crash into signs or anything.  During all of this, a female friend arrives to talk to him. She's the 'I've been your friend, but I'm secretly in love with you' type that you see a lot.  Want to take guesses on where this story is headed?  The 'boyfriend' from before turns out to be the brother, who eventually knocks our hero out after a 'comedy' scene.  He's saved at the last minute, however, by the woman.  She doesn't care- it's just that grandma is coming to the family dinner and only eats fresh meat.  Eww.
The plot moves the group over to the family house, which leads to some wacky 'comedy' of its own.  Since this is set around Christmas, our heroes need to get some presents.  Of course, their presence there- to be eaten- should be enough, but we need to pad out the runtime.  They go to a store in the middle of the night which is run by a weirdo.  The guy says weird things, they make small talk and then they leave.  That accomplished a lot- thanks.  Eventually, the family all comes together and has some weirdness.  Yet again, this adds nothing.  All of this is just a build-up to the woman from before breaking our hero out while in disguise.  As they go outside, the family of the man from the store surround the police.  We get some sort of Hatfield and McCoy explanation for this.  Pick a family from a story & stick with it!  Eventually, the two families put aside their dispute in order to kill our fat hero.  As him and the woman ride off on horses, they both crash into a tree...for no reason.  Our hero decides to stand up for himself and fight the family.  He does this by setting up a series of rakes under leaves, which the people step on and knock themselves out.  The brother puts up an actual fight, but gets crushed by our fat lead.  The Donner woman just sort of gives up and allows him to leave.  Finally, the man finds a woman who will agree to marry him and actually follows through with it.  Hurray- The End.
This movie sucks!  Where to begin?  The plot is silly, the acting is bad and, oh yeah, it's really not funny.  Humor can be subjective and i'm sure sure that a ton of things I like would be considered to be 'un-funny' by some readers.  I can't help the fact that I love Battlefield Baseball- dammit!  My problem here is that the film does nothing that's really original.  Other than the whole 'Donner Party' angle, you've seen this movie about 60 times already.  Speaking of which, what an odd storyline to bring in!  Was there a big call for films about cannibal families in the mid-80s?  I don't get it!  I wish that I could recommend this movie.  It's obscure, it's quirky and it's directed by a man with only two directing credits.  I just hope that I have better luck with The Ninth Configuration!
Up next, I take a look at a Spanish film starring 'Freddy.'  It involves an alien being, a comet and some nuns.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. OMG!!! Somebody else who's seen this, where did you find your copy? I have been looking for this for over 15 years, my mom and I couldn't even remember the name of it until I discovered IMDB, we always just remembered it as that cannibal holiday movie. If you could maybe email me ((zombie.sushi@yahoo))and let me know where you got your copy I would be so grateful!