Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
1992 Directed by Roger Spottiswoode. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Estelle Getty, Jobeth Williams, Roger Rees, Martin Ferrero, Gailard Sartain.
REVIEWED By Louis Black, Fri., Feb. 28, 1992
Okay, although from the title you know not to expect a masterpiece, over the years I've come to admire Stallone for his stretches. Although he's most famous for Rocky and Rambo, Stallone has always tried to expand his range. He followed up Rocky with the strangely Raoul Walsh-like Paradise Alley and the misguided labor history F.I.S.T., before their failures drove him into the arms of Rocky II, and Rambo started off as First Blood, a modestly budgeted experiment for Stallone. Of course, most of the time, despite his obvious talents, he's failed miserably in these experiments, not just Paradise Alley and F.I.S.T., but Rhinestone, his first attempt at comedy, and Staying Alive, the musical. You can't help but think, given his obvious talent, that maybe Stallone has become too involved in the creative process, proving to be just fine in Victory, Tango and Cash and the underrated Nighthawks. Lately, Stallone's turned his eye back to comedy and, though I missed Oscar, his last attempt, in this story of a tough police detective whose mom comes to stay with him, he shows a real comic flair. There are even scenes between him and Getty as his mom, the brazen, son-loving, interfering Tutti Bomowski that kindle a certain spark, ringing true both as comedy and as slice of life. Unfortunately, the film is really too dumb to live. You might think it wouldn't be because it was directed by Spottiswoode, one-time Sam Peckinpah film editor (Straw Dogs, The Getaway, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid) who was also called in to save the surprisingly charming The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper. But The Best of Times, Turner and Hooch, Air America, Shoot to Kill and this mess pretty much remove him from the Interesting List. The film is really only about the relationship between son and mother, there is no plot. Their relationship contains little beyond the most stereotypical interaction, exaggerated yet again for comic effect. She washes his gun, and when he complains that this has wrecked it, she buys an automatic off the streets as a gift. This exchange leads to some silly dabbling in stolen guns, murder and corporate crime, but this is sitcom deep and sitcom serious. These aren't real people doing real things and these certainly aren't funny people doing funny things. In the first five minutes you know exactly how this film is going to unravel. And it does. Spottiswoode directs action well but at about 90 minutes, this film is about 60 minutes longer than its material. Oh, for you Oklahomans, Gailard Sartain, as usual, is wasted.