In Morons from Outer Space
, a trio of very dense aliens abandons their equally dimwitted pal Bernard (coscripter Mel Smith) and crashes their rented spacecraft in England, where they become pop media icons under the guiding hand of a disgruntled television employee (coscripter Griff Rhys Jones). Bernard eventually finds his way to America, where his claims of interplanetary pedigree land him in an asylum. This satire of science fiction and societal quirks from British television comics Smith and Jones and director Mike Hodges (Croupier
) generates its biggest laughs early, when the hapless trio is pitted against the British and American military (James B. Sikking appears briefly as a trigger-happy Yank officer). The remainder quickly dissipates into generic slapstick and feeble pokes at media hype, though Smith and fellow U.K. performer Jimmy Nail (as beer-guzzling spaceman Dez) have some strong individual moments. Smith later directed such films as Bean
(1997) and High Heels and Low Lifes
Alien from L.A. is a slight but watchable science fiction adventure about a nerdy gal (model Kathy Ireland, hiding behind Buddy Holly specs) who discovers a lost civilization at the center of the Earth. Following clues in a letter concerning her missing adventurer father, Ireland travels to North Africa (the film was actually shot in South Africa), where she discovers-and falls into-a pit that contains the spaceship Atlantis, which crashed and sunk into the Earth generations ago. With the help of a friendly miner, Ireland searches for her dad and gains her self-confidence after wrangling with a host of creatures and treacherous Atlanteans. Alien from L.A. won't win over sci-fi diehards with its tongue-in-cheek tone and overly familiar Mad Max/punk-rock set design, and Ireland's performance can be charitably described as befuddled, but camp and "bad movie" fans may get a kick out of the lighthearted proceedings, and Ireland's sarong and bikini wardrobe isn't too hard to take. Director Pyun (The Sword and the Sorcerer) and Ireland reunited for the 1989 semi-sequel, Journey to the Center of the Earth. --Paul Gaita
Morons from Outer Space Alien from L.A.