The Austin Chronicle


Rated PG, 88 min. Directed by Steve Barron. Starring Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Michelle Burke, Laraine Newman, Phil Hartman, Dave Thomas, Jason Alexander, David Spade, Michael McKean, Chris Farley, Sinbad.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., July 30, 1993

What could have resulted in a 90-minute blow-up of a five-minute premise (remember Bob and Doug McKenzie's Strange Brew?) has instead, thankfully, arrived as a thoroughly updated and nicely fleshed-out comedy that never quite makes you loose a molar laughing, but instead keeps solid little gags flowing throughout. Based on the old Saturday Night Live sketch, the film opens with the arrival of Beldar (Aykroyd) and Prymaat (Curtain) Conehead on Earth, their invasion plans scuttled by some overzealous USAF pilots. Forced to assimilate among “the bluntskulls” (“We will... blend in,” an over-confident Beldar solemnly intones) while waiting for a rescue ship, the duo end up being pursued by INS agent McKean and his toadying right-hand man, Spade. Settling down for a while, they manage to spawn a daughter, Connie, between Beldar's odd jobs as an electronics repairman and a taxi driver. In perhaps the film's best bit of sustained lunacy, we see the maturing of young Connie through a montage of grainy Super-8 home movies which flit past to the tune of Paul Simon's “Kodachrome” -- as silly as it sounds, it's one of the best extended gags I've seen in too long. Filling out the cast are a number of past and present SNL alumni, including a manic, mammoth Chris Farley as Connie's teenage love, Ronnie. Out of all the SNL regulars of the past decade (post-original cast, that is), Farley seems best suited to the big screen, with his hyper-thyroidian libido and overall bad craziness -- it's hard not to think of John Belushi's best work when you see Farley in action. Director Barron keeps everything from stagnating with fluid camera movement and an interesting use of odd angles that helps keep in mind that fact that these wonderful parents, are, in fact, alien invaders. Far better than advance word had it, Coneheads makes last year's Wayne's World film seem tame by comparison. And yes, Garrett Morris is in it, too.

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