Dir: John Landis, 1977
The film that really kick started the idea of “spoof” films.
Milwaukee residents and brothers, David and Jerry Zucker, teamed up with their childhood friend, Jim Abrahams, to create the popular stage show, The Kentucky Fried Theatre. The show was simply a bunch of sketches written by and starring the trio, using video tape and inspiration from late night television.
Making the show into a film allowed them to really let loose and push the boundaries of taste and decency. This is the rudest of all the films the ZAZ team, made.
There is no plot. It’s just a bunch of comedy sketches, sending up late night television, films, school education films and anything they find funny.
It’s a bit hit and miss. Some sketches are brilliant and induce some real laughter. Others are a bit dated and miss the mark.
The highlight of the film, is the mini film A Fistful Of Yen, it’s title a send up of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars.
A Fistful Of Yen is a brilliant spoof of the Robert Clouse directed, Bruce Lee vehicle, Enter The Dragon.
Evan Kim plays the Bruce Lee role, here as Loo. As per the original, Loo is sent undercover, but bribed with the chance of killing dozens of men.
Ludicrous and hilarious, you do find yourself wishing that A Fistful Of Yen had been made as a feature length movie and doing away with the rest.
An extremely funny sketch is the cinema viewing experience, “feel-a-round”.
Having no limits, the boys throw everything to do with sex in. A couple making love in front of a news report on the television, is of particular note. Rude, but very funny.
Everything is fair game. Exploitation trailers, such as Cleopatra Schawrtz, disaster film That’s Armageddon!, and porn film Catholic High School Girls In Trouble are all thrown in with topless girls galore.
Being a seventies film, some of the humour may be deemd racist and offensive in this day and age but it’s still funny. Rex Kramer, is one such example.
The guest stars seem out of place, having very little to do or even any lines. Donald Sutherland appears as a clumsy waiter without uttering a single line. A rather silly joke that shouldn’t be in it.
Very much of it’s time, the film gained an ‘R’ rating in the US. If the film was submitted today, judging by how afraid of sex the MPAA is nowadays, and the frequent displays of buxom boobs, it would surely earn an ‘NC-17’.
In Britain, the film received an ‘X’ rating with one small cut. The A Fistful Of Yen sketch was cut to remove a guard wielding two pairs of nunchakus. Strangely, the character and actor still appear in the final credits, misspelled as “ninchuk man”. It was issued, briefly, on video in the early eighties, by The Last House On The Left distributors, Replay Video. This was uncut.
Eventually, it was re-released with an ’18’ certificate by Entertainment In Video, matching the UK cinema version.
It has now been released, uncut, on DVD.
At just over 80 mins, the film is not too long so doesn’t get tiresome and its catchy theme tune sits aptly with the lighthearted, silly style of comedy.
There’s plenty of laughs in the film. The hits outweigh the misses.
Not a masterpiece, but still good fun.