The Stupids (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Landis|
|Produced by||Leslie Belzberg|
|Written by||Brent Forrester|
|Based on||The Stupids
by James Marshall and
|Music by||Christopher Stone|
|Editing by||Dale Beldin|
Rank Film Distributors
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Running time||94 minutes|
The film follows the fictional family, the Stupids, with a last name synonymous with their behavior. The story begins with patriarch Stanley Stupid believing "sender" from letters marked "return to sender" is a wicked man planning a conspiracy. Adding several misunderstandings, the family unwittingly saves the world from military chaos, while believing a fake story about a fictional man named Sender and his plot to confiscate everyone's mail and trash.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (April 2009)|
Stanley Stupid is convinced that someone is stealing his trash. He discovers and follows a garbage truck. His children, Buster and Petunia, think he was kidnapped and leave a note for their mother, Joan. The note says: "police kidnapped your children"
While at the dump, Stanley overhears a meeting of corrupt army officials promising several foreign representatives large amounts of contraband. Stanley poses as one of the foreigners, and talks with Colonel Neidermeyer, who is convinced that Stanley is a secret agent. Shortly afterward, he tells Lieutenant Neal, one of his subordinate assassins, to kill him.
Meanwhile, the children are brought home by the police only to discover that their mother is gone too. After the two find an advertisement for a Chinese restaurant, they go to the restaurant. There, Buster receives a fortune cookie that says "Time flies when you're having fun." Believing this is the Daily Times newspaper, the children go to the newspaper office, where a computer prompts them for a headline, and after telling Buster (who is picking his nose) and Joan that computer language is alien, Petunia inputs "alien picks nose". The computer then requests a picture, at which they try to slide a photograph of Stanley into the floppy drive, which causes every drive in the building to explode.
The family reunites at their house and Stanley explains a conspiracy he discovered at the dumpster. Years ago, while working for as a "courier for the government" (U.S. Postal Service postman), he noticed an inordinate amount of letters marked "return to sender". Thinking "sender" was a person's name, he reported this to his superior, who promptly fired him. He believes Mr. Sender accumulates letters and has bribed the police into stealing people's children. The Stupid's children suggest looking for "Sender" in the telephone directory, and find a Charles Sender who works at the Museum of Natural History[disambiguation needed]. The Stupids get into their Stupid-mobile and they head to the museum. At the museum, they split up and sneak in.
Buster and Joan find a display of several dates and events, ending at an elevator which had buttons for floors A-D and 1-9. Believing it to be a time machine, Buster presses several random numbers and the letters B and C. The elevator takes them to a display about dinosaurs, and Buster writes his name on the wall, believing it will be the first thing humans will read. Petunia and Stanley, meanwhile, enter Sender's office and find his daily planner. On their way out, they enter a planetarium. Suddenly, the planetarium show begins. They are discovered by a janitor named Lloyd, who they take as "The Lord".
The family reunites again outside the museum. Stanley and Petunia tell Joan and Buster that Sender is going to a television studio. They arrive and Stanley is brought on a talk show. Neidermeyer realizes Stanley hasn't been assassinated when he sees him on TV singing "I'm My Own Grandpa". The Stupids find the kindly Mr. Sender. Stanley challenges Mr. Sender to a Mortal Geek Kombat. However, Mr. Sender leaves because he's in a hurry. Suddenly, the army men kidnap Stanley and bring him to the army base, and his family follows but are not allowed in. Stanley is tied to a chair and interrogated, but refuses to give away anything. Just when he is about to be beaten, one of his guards spits a wad of chewing gum on the floor. Remembering the museum janitor's words, he finds the strength to escape and rejoin his family.
Stanley tells of the nefarious plot he heard that will take "... place (at) Warehouse 21". Arriving in the middle of the night, they sneak in to discover huge stores of weapons. They order the corrupt officials to surrender, and soon find themselves under attack. After a series of humorous struggles, they manage to get the police's attention. All the corrupt officers are arrested except for Neidermeyer. Stanley approaches Sender and tells him he needs to turn his life away from evil. Thinking these are road directions, Sender thanks him. When the Stupids return home, they find Neidermeyer waiting to kill them. Before he can pull the trigger, Neidermeyer tells them that no guardian angel can save them, at which point the takeout-delivery man Joan called earlier barges in, knocking him out with the door. The family believes that delivery man to be working for "The Lloyd", when in fact the man's boss' name is Floyd.
Meanwhile, a nose-picking alien in a space ship passes an edition of the newspaper Joan and the children were in earlier. Upon seeing "Alien picks nose" with Stanley's photo on the front cover, they set off to Earth to kill him. The film ends as Stanley is grilling hamburgers outside. Buster says he wants to try, at which point the aliens appear in the yard. Oblivious to the aliens, Stanley tries to explain to Buster that he is too little to do it. In the process, he inadvertently sets the aliens on fire, and they teleport away.
- Tom Arnold as Stanley Stupid
- Jessica Lundy as Joan Stupid
- Bug Hall as Buster Stupid
- Alex McKenna as Petunia Stupid
- Mark Metcalf as Colonel Neidermeyer
- Bob Keeshan as Charles Sender
- Christopher Lee as Evil Sender
- Matt Keeslar as Lieutenant Neal
- Frankie Faison as Lloyd
- David Ferry as Late-night show host
- Rolonda Watts as Talk show hostess
- Max Landis as Graffiti artist
- Celebrity cameos
- Jenny McCarthy as Glamorous actress
- Atom Egoyan as TV studio guard
- Norman Jewison as French chef
- Robert Wise as Stanley's neighbor
- David Cronenberg as Postal supervisor
- Gillo Pontecorvo as Talk show guest
- Costa-Gavras as Gas station attendant
- Gurinder Chadha as Reporter #1
- Mick Garris as Reporter #2
Stanley Stupid and his daughter enter a planetarium and believe they are dead. The janitor talks to them and they believe he is God. They call him Lord, and he corrects them saying his name is Lloyd, and they refer to God as "Lloyd" from then on. The gag is further extended when they are "rescued" by a takeout-delivery man who works for Floyd's Restaurant. They believe he is a guardian angel and assure him that he works for Lloyd, not Floyd. The gag appears in the closing credits, when a final title says "Trust In The Lloyd".
The Stupids' dog, Kitty, and cat, Xylophone, are anthropomorphized- claymation characters that act much more intelligently than their owners. For instance, they solved the "mystery" of why the car wouldn't start. Far from needing the mouth to mouth resuscitation Stanley provided, the problem was that the car keys weren't in the ignition.
Another gag is the name of the film's main antagonist, Colonel Neidermeyer, played by Mark Metcalf, who had previously played Doug Niedermeyer in Animal House. He may be playing the same character, even though the character in Animal House was killed by his own men in Vietnam.
The film was shot in Toronto, Ontario (Downtown shots) and Uxbridge, Ontario (Home located at 55 Quaker Village Drive, Uxbridge, Ontario).
The Stupids was a major box office failure, grossing just $2,491,989 in North America from an estimated $25 million budget. The film received generally negative reviews, currently holding a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Awards and nominations
Arnold won at the 1996 Golden Raspberry Awards - Worst Actor for his performances in Big Bully, Carpool, and The Stupids. The Stupids was also nominated for the award for Worst Picture, Worst Director (John Landis), and Worst Screenplay (Brent Forrester).
- "THE STUPIDS (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 1996-02-23. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
- The Stupids at Box Office Mojo Retrieved June 29, 2013
- The Stupids at Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved July 24, 2013
- "MORNING REPORT". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- "MOVIE REVIEW Stupids Proves Comedy Isn't Always Pretty". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- The Stupids at the Internet Movie Database
- The Stupids at Box Office Mojo
- The Stupids at Rotten Tomatoes