Kentucky Fried Movie

Kentucky Fried Movie

Directed by John Landis

Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD

Before John Landis helmed the comedy masterpiece Animal House or the Zucker Brothers unleashed Airplane or The Naked Gun, they teamed up to create Kentucky Fried Movie. This film of odd vignettes that parody movies and TV leaves nothing in the tank. The Zucker style of gags by volume is already in full effect. Often there are more misses than hits in a given segment, but the jokes that are on target excuse the ones that don’t quite make it. Some of the segments in Kentucky Fried Movie have become classics. The Bruce Lee spoof “A Fistful of Yen” and the blaxploitation parody “Cleopatra Schwartz” are funny enough to have been spun out into their own features. Time has not been especially kind to some parts of this film. Some ethnic humor is by current standards rather politically incorrect, and jokes about Hare Krishnas and gas shortages just aren’t relevant anymore. The Anchor Bay DVD features a pristine, anamorphic, widescreen transfer, a trailer, some behind the scenes photos, and cast and crew info. The disc also has a feature length commentary from director John Landis, producer Robert Weiss, and writers David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker. Most DVD commentaries are – at best – mildly interesting to die-hard fans of certain films. The commentary track on Kentucky Fried Movie presents the view with a difficult decision. The decision of whether the film is funnier with or without the commentary track. Some of the reactions and behind the scenes stories are achingly funny and help the less potent segments. Stories about having to take one of the actresses underwear shopping because she didn’t own anything that was useable on film to laments about certain segments not being as successful due to only having a single camera set up, belie the micro-budget of the film. Even though the film has not aged as gracefully as one might hope, it is at worst a relic showing the career beginnings of some of the giants in cinematic comedy, and that alone is worth a look. Plus “Catholic High School Girls in Trouble” will always be funny.

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