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Amanda and the Alien
(1995)
 

Director: Jon Kroll                             
Cast:
Nicole Eggert, Michael Dorn, Stacey Keach


Amanda and the Alien is one of the worst pieces of s**t I've ever seen in my life. There's pretty much nothing of interest here. Even bad movies usually have something that makes them memorable for some time in your head. Not this movie. This movie is so empty, it'll evaporate completely from your head after several days. This doesn't happen very often - the last time a movie did that for me was when I saw The Guyver. There is no sense of fun in the movie, or any sense that the filmmakers were at least trying to be entertaining. In fact, it's directed in a way that would make you swear that the filmmakers hate humanity - the movie was made with no love or any affection to the characters. Instead, it is filled with contempt for everyone in the movie and for anyone watching it. Who was this movie intended for?

Amanda (Eggert) is a young woman who works at a "trendy" clothing store, though you'd never guess it by the horrible outfits that she wears. Her life is very dull and lonesome; usually in a movie like this it's because the character is shy, but here it's because she's simply a shrew, doing things like yelling at her friends and having an "attitude". She has a sometimes-boyfriend named Charlie, but he's always cheating on her, including the present time when he calls to claim that his "cousin" is in town and he has to show her around town. This leads to several awful cracks about incest from Amanda, and not all at once. What's worse is that it's later suggested that the woman Charlie is with (and beds) is indeed his cousin, which will lead to groans of disgust from viewers of most of those United States.

Meanwhile, at a U.S. Government Safehouse, two aliens are in captivity and government agents Keach and Dorn ("Worf" from Star Trek: The Next Generation)  plan to move them out. One of the aliens sneaks out of the cell and absorbs itself in Flores, the safehouse's cook, taking over control of her body. "Flores" gets into her car and drives off. It's interesting to note that there only seems to be three guards in the entire complex. It's also interesting when the breakout is found out, Flores is then referred to from now on as "Connie". It's even more interesting when Dorn describes the car the alien took off in, his description has been obviously dubbed over from something different. What's most interesting is that the second alien didn't try to escape, and except for one or two future references is never talked about again. Later, when Amanda is in a beatnik coffee shop straight from the 1950s (including people wearing berets and playing cellos), she sees "Connie" and within seconds decides this is the alien that the government was talking about in the newspapers. So I guess the government wasn't lying about Roswell after all! Amanda then offers to help the alien fit more into society and to help its escape, despite its habit of having to absorb itself in a new body ever day or two.

This was based on a story by Robert Silverberg, but it sure plays like a rip-off of the movie Starman (there's even a scene at a roadside diner with apple pie.) I haven't read the story, but I'm sure Silverberg didn't include much, if any, gratuitous sex scenes and nudity in his original version (*). Though the alien can instantly absorb itself to anyone, it decides to get into long and loud sex with Charlie (intercut with a cappuccino machine hissing and spouting liquid.) And I don't think Silverberg wrote any scene with the alien licking paprika off of someone's body, or the absolutely horrible jokes in this movie. A character named "Roencrantz" has his name confused by someone who calls him "Guildenstern". Or was it the other way around? In one scene, Amanda and the alien (in Charlie's body) register in a motel under  "Mr. and Mrs. James T. Kirk". In fact, there are a lot of references to Star Trek, one such reference in one scene with Dorn, though it's played with no irony or wit. Actually, Dorn comes off best in this movie, firmly gritting his teeth and playing it completely straight. It's clear he knows how absolutely stupid this movie is, so you have to give him credit for going through activities like being stuck in a big truck full of "Poo Pockets Diapers". However, his character is too shallow for us to feel anything for him. Keach not only looks old and tired, but he looks embarrassed to the point of being mortified when forced to do things like walking into a diner while spaghetti western music plays. Keach as Eastwood? I don't think so. There are no characters in this movie we have sympathy for. There are characters we hate, but not the way the filmmakers intended.

What were they thinking of when they made this movie? All I know is that they thought they needed four "second second assistant" directors for this movie. Whatever else they were thinking of, it certainly didn't apply to making a coherent and detailed movie. We do find out what happened to the other alien, but we don't find out why it happened. The alien absorbs itself (clothes and all) into other people, but the last time it does it, we see a pile of the alien's clothing afterwards. The worst scene comes at the climax, where a seemingly impossible situation is solved by something so out of the blue, that you have absolute hatred for the writers for not bothering to come up with a proper answer for this occurrence. As I said before, there are no signs that the filmmakers cared anything about what audiences would think or feel about their movie. Amanda and the Alien is one of the worst movies ever made. The sooner it evaporates and leaves no memory in my head, the better.
 


* In the several weeks between writing this review and its publication, I happened to come across the original short story by accident. The movie actually sticks reasonably close to the events in the story, even using a lot of the same dialogue. There is one sex scene in the short story, though it's reasonably tasteful. Other differences in the written work include the alien having a penchant for oregano, not paprika, and not licking it off someone's body. It's interesting to note that around the half-hour mark in the movie, Silverberg seems to get bored as his Amanda character in the story, and ends the story not long after that point. Though maybe he had a horrible vision of the movie version of his story, and didn't want to get blamed for the horrible adventures to come for the mismatched duo.

Check for availability on Amazon (VHS)
Check for Robert Silverberg short story collection, "Secret Sharers" 

See also: Flush, Funland, Leader Of The Band

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