Meet the Feebles

1989, NR, 94 min. Directed by Peter Jackson. Starring Mark Hadlow, Donna Akersten, the voice of Stuart Devenie.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., April 8, 1994

Imagine Kermit the Frog had been a junkie. Imagine Miss Piggy had been a grade-z torch singer with a preposterously ample bosom and a runaway case of manic depression. Imagine Sam the Eagle had been a closet child molester. Imagine Fozzie Bear had made S&M/bestiality pornos in the Muppet Theatre basement. Imagine no more. Peter Jackson's second feature (shot before last year's brilliantly horrific Dead Alive) has finally arrived on American soil, and Jim Henson Industries, Inc. will never be the same again (and neither will you, most likely). Bearing a striking resemblance to the late Mr. Henson's darkest nightmares, the Feebles in question are a theatre troupe of bizarre animal puppets, who, on the eve of their biggest show, fall prey to libidonistic in-fighting, rampant drug abuse, and all manner of flatulent, visceral, and thoroughly revolting depravity. Overseen by manager Bletch the Walrus (who's busy masterminding colossal heroin deals when he's not out on the links or being serviced by his tiny feline mistress, Samantha), the Feebles lineup includes Heidi, the 400-pound hippo starlet; Harry the Hare, the show's emcee who has unfortunately been stricken with a fatal -- and utterly disgusting -- STD; Denis the Anteater, the cast's all-around gofer and teenage sex pervert who can't seem to keep his proboscis out of the other player's undergarments; and Trevor the Rat, Bletch's right-hand rodent, who, when he's not procuring drugs for the strung-out frog, is busy shooting cow and cockroach blue movies in the basement. It's a testimony to Jackson's deranged genius that he manages to pull the whole thing off as well as he does (although, to be honest, the film does have a few off-moments: choppy editing and the occasional odd lighting choice make for some hard-to-discern shots now and again). Anyone who was made to sit through The Muppets Take Manhattan or Follow That Bird has been waiting a long time to see Meet the Feebles (whether they admit it or not); thankfully, there are no inane human guest stars to wade through, either, but then, wouldn't it be great to know what Barry Manilow or Dom DeLuise would have made of this?! Like Jackson's two previous films (Bad Taste being both the first film and the apparent line of thought behind his proficient Wingnut Films Group), this one is patently adult in both tone and execution: blood, bullets, and suppurating sexual sores abound, while bathroom humor and high wit coexist simultaneously. It's a beautiful, horrible, groty mess that could never have been pulled off with anything but puppets, or by anyone but Peter Jackson. Bravo! (or is that Barfo?!)

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Meet the Feebles, Peter Jackson, Mark Hadlow, Donna Akersten, the voice of Stuart Devenie

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