…are all words associated with good comedy. In the case of Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), other adjectives apply; dull, self-indulgent and tragically unfunny. I like a laugh as much as the next man and when I saw this little nugget of cinematic history going for the low, low, price of €1 in my local discount store, I thought: ‘Aha! They don’t know what they’re selling here – I’ll snap that up!’ And so I did, skipping gaily out of the shop (stop it), I rushed home and prepared myself for a feast of televisual mirth. As it transpires, my local discount store knew exactly what they were selling and must have had the biggest laugh ever to be associated with this film when they saw me scurrying out of their doors, cackling maniacally at my presumed good fortune.
AWOTM is brought to our screens by what even the most hackneyed film critic would rate as a pretty strong cast and production team. In the actors’ camp we have Michelle Pfeiffer, Arsenio Hall, Phil Hartman, B.B. King, Rosanna Arquette, Steve Guttenberg, Ed Beglet Jr and plenty of others, including many of the “oh, it’s him – the one who played the guy opposite that girl in that TV programme we used to watch” variety. In addition, a directorial team of five including Joe Dante (Gremlins (1984)), Robert K. Weiss (The Blues Brothers (1980) and The Naked Gun (1988)) and the legendary John Landis should pretty much guarantee a winner. Sadly, this film is so much less than the sum of its parts.
The film itself loosely hinges around a 1950s-style B-movie sci-fi flick (The eponymous AWOTM) and the ‘hilarious’ antics that occur during the many technical hitches and re-spoolings of the film reel. This, in itself is not completely terrible and the stuttering production and faux technicolor are done reasonably well.
We open with Arsenio Hall arriving at his accommodation and not having the best of days. Tie stuck in the waste disposal, exploding television, bookcases falling on his head. Laugh? I nearly started. I kept wondering what the punchline would be and was disappointed to discover there was none. Following that (difficult as it obviously was) we have a wake in which a panel of old-time comedians make jokes about the deceased, an old Jewish guy getting sucked into the TV by misuse of the remote control (a premise that could easily have been 100 times funnier than it actually was) and a grand total of 21 other sketches, all as unfunny as the last. I would list them all, but I would like you, dear reader, to revisit this site from time to time.
Out of the lot, there were two that really stood out as being better than the rest – although only in the same way that a lolly stick would stand out of a dog turd. Carrie Fisher’s take on 1930s ‘information’ films about a dirty little strumpet putting it about and getting the clap had the tone just about right, while the skit built around a black guy with no soul and who wore his jumper around his neck preppy-style while singing songs that would make Barry Manilow cringe was funny enough, until they did it to death.
Quick mental maths tell me that at €1 for 23 skits, plus the ‘feature’ itself (let’s call it two skits’ worth) equals two cents per skit. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to the shop where I bought this to bang on the counter and demand my 96 cents back.
85 mins. In black & white and colour.