Twenty years before the Farrelly Brothers turned raunch into acceptable film comedy, the team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker exploited it first. The college threesome made it big with Airplane!
in 1980, but this 1977 cinematic version of their live theater show is ground zero for their talents. Like The Groove Tube
, Kentucky Fried Movie
is a mishmash of sketches, fake commercials, and parodies with no central theme--except their crudeness and laugh-out-loud humor. Highlights include a commercial for "Scot Free," a board game based on the Kennedy assassination conspiracy, "The Wonderful World of Sex," in which a couple goes through foreplay with a self- help narrator instructing them step by step, and a 20-minute spoof of Bruce Lee films entitled "A Fistful of Yen." Brazen to a fault, the movie will reach for any punch line, no matter how crude (and those who flocked to the film's initial release looking for R-rated sex will remember the final sketch and the infamous trailer for "Catholic High School Girls in Trouble.") Directed by then-unknown John Landis on a shoestring budget, the film has aged. But crassness, when it's this funny, is forever. --Doug Thomas
This DVD features a surprising amount of information for such a little film. More than 18 minutes of home movies shot on-set and more than 100 black-and-white pictures are included in addition to the audio commentary. Director Landis, Abrahams, the Zucker brothers, and producer Robert Weiss ruminate over the picture, admitting they haven't seen it in 20 years; a lot of the talk is asking who the various actors are and if they were still alive. More informative is the history of the Kentucky Fried Theater, how the fivesome raised money for the film, Landis's remarks on why the film would now be rated NC-17, the revelation that David Letterman auditioned, and how they lucked out in finding the lead for "A Fistful of Yen." The DVD chapter stops make it easy to find a favorite segment. Did we mention "Catholic High School Girls in Trouble"? --Doug Thomas