[Screen It]


(1996) (Tom Arnold, Jessica Lundy) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
None None Moderate Mild Heavy
Moderate None Minor None Minor
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor Minor Minor Mild Heavy

Comedy: A family of stupid people stumbles across an international arms sale while trying to solve who's "stealing" their garbage.
Stanley Stupid (TOM ARNOLD), his wife Joan (JESSICA LUNDY) and kids Buster (BUG HALL) and Petunia (ALEX McKENNA) live a life inspired by their last name. They're dumbfounded when the car won't start when they make the key turning motion -- without car keys, and they wonder who keeps stealing their trash at night. It's this last misunderstanding that starts the story rolling -- literally -- as Stanley uses in-line skates to chase after a trash truck that has "stolen" their trash. Arriving at a landfill he comes across a group of renegade military soldiers, led by an Army Colonel (MARK METCALF), who are selling weapons to foreign buyers. Believing that this and other corrupt behavior centers around a "Mr. Sender," (alternately played by BOB KEESHAN ("Captain Kangaroo") as Charles Sender, a museum curator, and CHRISTOPHER LEE as a Satan like letter destroyer, and referring to the "Return to Sender" stamp Stanley repeatedly saw on returned letters during his short stint as a letter carrier), Stanley and his family attempt to stop all of the wrong doing.
Probably. The film's obviously catering to the younger crowd hoping that they'll enjoy the slapstick and stupid behavior.
For some violence.
Other than the bad guys who are obviously not good role models, the rest of the cast, including TOM ARNOLD and JESSICA LUNDY are neither great nor bad role models. The Stupids are stupid, ignorant people whom you obviously wouldn't want your kids to grow up like, but they aren't mean spirited and have good intentions.


OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
There are two types of "lowest common denominator" movies: Those that showcase silly, but stupid events (the "Airplane" and "Naked Gun" movies) and movies that want us to laugh at just plain stupidity ("Dumb and Dumber"). Both are often successful at making us laugh, but this movie doesn't work on either level. The characters' antics become irritating after their initial "cute" quirkiness, and where the "smarter" dumb movies poke fun at stupid things we do, this movie picks mundane things as humorous targets (trying to start a car by putting the keys in the glove compartment lock, the kids looking for their mother in the clothes dryer and the toilet, etc...) that just aren't funny. Eventually producers will realize that just making a movie about stupidity to make money is just plain stupid. In addition, the likes of Christopher Lee, Bob Keeshan, and others are wasted in cameo roles that do nothing for them or for the story. And there's an animated cat and dog and several animated space aliens that make you just say "Huh?" We give this mess just a 2 out of 10.
There isn't a great deal to object to in this film (beyond the mundane stupidity). There is some cartoonish violence (bodies flying here and there and being knocked around -- all accidentally caused by the Stupids' actions) and some attempted lethal violence (the bad guys trying to kill Stanley) and young kids may take all of that at face value. Older kids won't, but then again they won't want to sit through this one in the first place. We do suggest that you read the category listings to determine if this film is appropriate for you and your family.

  • None.
  • None.
  • The military men (who are selling weapons to foreign buyers) have both as they are selling government goods and trying to kill Stanley.
  • A scene where Stanley imagines seeing two mysterious garbage men, who are wearing big gas masks, take his garbage on a foggy night might be scary to the youngest of kids.
  • "Sender" (Christopher Lee) is seen in a hell-like setting complete with fire and brimstone and several skeletons. He's Stanley's idea of who's responsible for missing mail and Sender throws returned mail into the flaming mouth of a dragon's head. Little kids may find this scene scary.
  • Buster goes into a museum elevator, thinking that it's a time machine. He pushes the buttons and then panics and screams as the door begins to close. Joan runs to him and jumps inside just as the door closes. (Nothing bad happens, but some kids may find the beginning of the scene scary).
  • Buster and Joan walk past several mounted dinosaur skeletons that younger kids may find scary looking.
  • The Colonel shows up at the end in the Stupid's home and threatens them with his gun but is accidentally knocked out by a delivery guy.
  • Many weapons are seen (anti-tank gun, machine guns, etc...) as a major story line involves some military types selling weapons to foreign buyers.
  • Guns/Machine guns/Bombs: Used by the bad guys as they attempt to injure or kill Stanley. For details see "Violence."
  • Stanley skates ("rollerblades") through traffic while chasing after a trash truck.
  • Some kids are seen spray painting graffiti on a wall.
  • Buster throws egg rolls across a restaurant as he tries to use his chop sticks.
  • Petunia puts a photograph into a computer's floppy drive (that destroys the drive).
  • Two alien space creatures (yes, you read that correctly) are seen picking their noses.
  • In a flashback to Stanley's earlier days as a mailman, he's seen putting mail into a wood chipper and down a storm sewer thinking that he's delivering it to the right place.
  • When his car won't start, Stanley says he needs to resuscitate it. He opens the hood, puts his mouth on the battery and gets a shock. It's played for laughs and shows no lasting effects of the shock.
  • Joan and Buster sneak into (ie. break into) a closed museum.
  • Buster writes his name on the wall of a primitive man exhibit in the museum.
  • There is a scene where a ricocheting bullet is played for laughs and kids might get the wrong impression about that.
  • Stanley accidentally sprays two space aliens (yes, that's right) with lighter fluid and then inadvertently tosses a match over his shoulder that catches them on fire.
  • None.
  • A few scenes have music that the youngest of kids may find to be a bit scary or tense.
  • None.
  • 1 hell, and 7 uses of "Oh my God," and 2 of "For God's Sake" as exclamations.
  • The following confessions are heard on a TV talk show: "I divorced my wife in order to date her daughter," "I married a Siamese twin and then had an affair with her sister," "I've been engaged to three of my cousins," and "I'm my own grandpa."
  • The Army Colonel occasionally smokes cigars.
  • A woman starts to light a cigarette when the Stupids run into her car causing her airbag to inflate, and then explode, from the cigarette lighter.
  • None in the traditional sense, but the mom does worry about her kids she thinks they have been kidnaped by the police.
  • Stanley and Petunia stumble into a planetarium and think that they've died and gone to heaven and meet God (some kids may be confused by this and need some explaining).
  • That the police don't kidnap kids (it doesn't actually happen here, but the topic is played for laughs).
  • Stanley sings a song, "I'm my own grandpa" that may need explaining to kids (and revolves around a very complicated family tree).
  • Joan clicks her garage door opener and a painter working on another house is hit by the opening garage door. He falls to the ground which causes several paint cans to fly through the air and land on several kids.
  • Cars crash into each other as Joan comes to an abrupt stop in her car.
  • A new .45 caliber handgun is displayed and fired at a car that then explodes when hit by the "bullet."
  • Petunia puts a photograph into a computer's floppy drive which causes it and all of the other computers in a news bureau to short out.
  • The Colonel sends out many men with the mission of killing Stanley.
  • A soldier shoots his handgun at Stanley's car. Gasoline pours from a hole in the gas tank and Stanley throws a hot cigarette lighter out the window (not knowing of the gas spill). The gas ignites and the soldier's jeep catches on fire. He jumps from it just as it goes over a cliff and explodes.
  • An assassin armed with a retractable knife on his arm tries to subdue Stanley with a chloroform soaked towel. Instead, he gets the towel in his face and then falls into a pile of tires that are punctured by his knife. He sails up into the air and then down onto a building.
  • A soldier attaches a timed bomb to Stanley's car. Stanley, finding a bee in his car, stops and whacks the bee just as the timer hits zero. The car explodes in a huge fireball, but Stanley emerges unscathed.
  • A woman starts to light a cigarette when the Stupids run into her car causing her airbag to inflate, and then explode, from contact with the cigarette lighter. Moments later she's seen with a blackened, soot-covered face.
  • After a talk show host mistakenly reads a cue card written by Joan (that read "Let's give it to the fat guy"), the rotund guest comes out and begins strangling the host.
  • Some soldiers kidnap Stanley and have him tied to a chair. They prepare to shoot him with a silencer equipped gun, but he breaks free and knocks them aside. He then jumps out the window and grabs the flag pole rope that then wraps around a soldier's foot sending him flying up through the air knocking the two previous soldiers on their heads. He then lets go of the rope and the tangled up soldier falls on top of another soldier who had aimed his machine gun at Stanley.
  • A soldier shoots a cross bow at the Stupids and barely misses. Buster then pulls at the arrow that causes a large pole to fall onto several soldiers.
  • Soldiers shoot their guns at Stanley and then chase him around a warehouse where his family comes to the rescue. He pulls out a pipe which sends a jet of water onto several soldiers knocking them backwards.
  • Petunia finds a hand grenade and pulls out the pin thinking it makes a nice ring. She then nonchalantly tosses the grenade over her shoulder that explodes and sends several soldiers flying through the air. There are other explosions as munitions are set off.
  • The police arrive and there's a shootout between the bad guys and the police.
  • The Colonel shows up at the Stupid's home and threatens them with his gun but is accidentally knocked out by a delivery guy.
  • Stanley accidentally sprays two space aliens (yes, that's right) with lighter fluid and then inadvertently tosses a match over his shoulder which catches them on fire.

  • Reviewed August 31, 1996

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