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Monday, 21 November 2016

Retro Review: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)

Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Estelle Getty, JoBeth Williams, Ving Rhames
Genre: Buddy Cop Comedy 
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $70 million 

Plot: Smarting from a romantic break-up, Macho police Sgt. Joe Bomowski gets a cross-country visit from his mother, Tutti. Her misguided efforts to help only fray his nerves, but that doesn't stop her from nagging Joe to be more open about his feelings towards his ex-girlfriend and current boss, Lt Gwen Harper. When Tutti witnesses a brutal multiple murder, she takes her meddling to the extreme by tagging along to help her son solve the case

'Would Have Made Far More Sense Casting A Comedic Actor, Instead Of Stallone'

Produced by comedy producer and director Ivan Reitman and directed by Roger Spottiswoode (Turner & Hooch, The Best of Times, 48 Hrs, Tomorrow Never Dies), with the screenplay penned by William Davies & William Osbourne of Twins, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is a screwball-like, farce crime comedy that though a lot of people have panned this movie to death and that it has come in for a lot of criticism, in hindsight, this effort would have made a lot more sense had a comedic actor, such as Eddie Murphy or even Arnold Schwarzenegger - who through Jingle All The Way, True Lies and Kindergarten Cop has proven he can carry off the action comedy thing, way better than Sly - been cast instead.

Arnie has that something that makes him so good at doing action comedy - perhaps it's his Americanised Austrian sounding accent, the funny lines he spouts out, that he can look ridiculous wearing a farmer's hat in Kindergarten Cop and singing nursery rhymes to children - and yet he can still get away with it. But Sly.... no can do.

In recent years, Sly Stallone has stated Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is the worst film he has ever done. In viewing it, it isn't that bad. I'd take this over The Specialist, Driven, Get Carter and most of his straight to DVD efforts, and yet his performance as Joe, which at times bordered on being uncomfortable, just shows that he is not cut out for comedy. No matter what shape or form. 

Yes, I know a lot of people have slammed this film; but remember, this is a comedy and an action comedy movie requires an actor who can pull off the cop thing, but of whom also has a flair for humour & comedy as well. Unlike Arnie, unfortunately though Stallone cannot really execute the funny cop role that well and though I understand that he wanted to do comedy, I just think it won't ever work out in the same way as him. Even though there are scenes of him feeling embarrassed when his mother is around him, Sly is out of his comfort zone. He has this hard, macho tough guy presence to him that it won't ever shake off and one I don't think will ever endow him to doing comedy of any form. & yet even when he tried it with Oscar, it still backfired. It's just not his style. 

Also, this film has come in for some criticism about some of the scenes that didn't make sense and were unbelievable. The part where Tutti cleans her son's gun with some cleaning detergent, it's like though it is supposed to be amusing, you know deep down that is not a good and the right thing to do.

Then there are Stallone and Estelle's styles that just don't gel well together: but I can still envisage a big, brawny guy alongside a diminutive, elderly woman kicking ass together. It's shame it's not him. As annoying as Tutti was, this is a comedy movie and Estelle, through her association with The Golden Girls sitcom, looked far more comfortable here than Sly. 

The late Estelle Getty was wonderful on The Golden Girls but as her character, Tutti, she made me wince several times. Though her heart is in the right place some of the time, Tutti is overbearing, intrusive and treats her adult son like he is a young boy. One minute, she is making Joey's breakfast & the next, she is blasting bad guys with a massive revolver, as a weapon. But regardless, if I had to choose between who I would take out of this movie and replace with a different actor, then I'd remove Sly. He just didn't do it for me. 

The film itself is a generic action comedy with the same types of action sequences, explosions, flying bullets that you have seen in many other standard action movies and added comedy, - yet the comedy fails to inspire and light up, as either the jokes fall flat and are tiring or that they are too predictable & comes across as desperate. No, make that all four. It's not just the miscasting of Stallone that is the problem, but also the humour just didn't work and with more work in this area, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot would have fared better. Director Roger Spottiswoode hit it out of the park with Tomorrow Never Dies and 48 Hrs, but with his comedies in this film and The Best of Times, it kind of all, tanked. 

Final Verdict:

For all of the harsh slayings this film has received, it is not a complete, outright crappy comedy movie, but a comedy movie that for all its potential & some watchable scenes, is pretty cringing in its execution & the gags could use a lot of work. And despite how silly the premise is, the so-called serious moments come across as too serious for a comedy of this nature that borders on farce.

In casting a comedic actor such as Billy Crystal or Eddie Murphy, or another action star in Arnie, who can pull off being the wisecrack in place of Sly Stallone for instance, might have, - and more than likely have salvaged this film. Despite it being mediocre in all respects. It would have worked better & made far more sense. This is one of those comedy movies where though it is a dud, it is not an outright dud, but then again it isn't that amusing either. 

Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is as inoffensive as baking cookies: with predictable and typical running gags, cuddly and cosy humour & a predictable ending it is a comedy movie that you can watch whilst putting your brain on hold for approximately over 87 mins.

If you manage to put aside Stallone's uncomfortable showing, then it's not all that bad. 


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