August is Comedy For Dummies month
This is one of the best keeper projects I’ve seen in ages. The cast is stellar, the script crackles with hilarious ideas and the take-off jokes are well done.
Tim Allen is Commander Peter Quincy Taggert, and Sigourney Weaver is a blond-haired Lt. Tawny Madison. Throw in Alan Rickman as Dr. Lazarus, the ship’s resident alien, and you get a sizzlingly funny cast.
The plot revolves around a batch of semi-successful actors who once worked on a TV show for four years. A success in reruns, the cast finds themselves touring of sci-fi conventions for 18 years and going nowhere. Dr. Lazarus belly aches about the tag line he has had to say for 22 years, and the rest of the cast are tired of his moans and cries. His autographs are given assembly-line style and fans are starting to notice.
Everything is the usual nonsense including Taggart not showing up on time due to some “drinking” emergencies. Tawny Madison is the resident blond bimbo who repeats everything the computer says to the cast. She is aware the role is anything but stellar and tries to embrace it completely.
As the bickering continues they are approached at a sci-fi convention by strange people (the Thermians) in “costume” asking them to save their home planet. The cast think they’re dealing with just another group of tired groupies, but little do they realize that aliens have been viewing the signals of “earth’s historical documents” and these polite, bimbo aliens are now figuring the cast can save their planet. This however causes problems when the cast finds out there is no script, no director and they have no clue what they should do.
We then get to the point where there are hilarious take-offs on the sci-fi movies and TV shows we all know. Some are pretty obvious episodes we’ve seen time and again and others are just kind of generic. They all seem to work well. In one scene Taggart must fight a monster by himself on a planet and save the crew with his win.
Winning is something they now have to band together to do. They are no longer actors; they are suddenly on a real life mission to save beings from serious problems, and overcome their own baggage. A favorite moment is when Lazarus finally appreciates his tagline for the first time since the show was in production. An alien is dying and super-politely (Canadian aliens??!) asks to hear Dr. Lazarus’ vow to avenge him. For once Lazarus understands how important the line is to someone else not just how stale it is to him. It works really well and sets the crew off on an incredible journey. This time back home.
Reviews have been good. “The funniest, wittiest comedy of the year,” -NBC TV. “Two thumbs up,” Roger Ebert and Harry Knowles, Roger Ebert at the Movies.
Enjoy this project when you want to let go and stop being left-brained for a while!
Laura Seymour first published herself, at age 8. She has since gone on to publish a cookbook for the medical condition Candida. She is working toward her B.A. (Psyc).