A series of short, highly irreverent, and often tasteless skits.A series of short, highly irreverent, and often tasteless skits.A series of short, highly irreverent, and often tasteless skits.A series of short, highly irreverent, and often tasteless skits.A series of short, highly irreverent, and often tasteless skits.
In terms of laughs per minute, this one is a strong contender for funniest movie of all time. Written by Zucker Abraham and Zucker, directed by John Landis, and produced by Samuel L Bronkowitz (just kidding), "The Kentucky Fried Movie" is really nothing more than a collection of skits, barely connected by the convention that they're all things you might see on TV (or at the movies). But, oh, the skits. Let's just say that no single episode of "Saturday Night Live" was ever this funny.
Best of the bunch is the movie's centerpiece, "A Fistful of Yen", a dead-on parody of kung fu action movies a la "Enter The Dragon". In this bit, the longest in the film, a Bruce Lee type named Loo has to infiltrate a mountain fortress run by the villainous Dr. Klahn, who is building an army of extraordinary magnitude. The martial arts scenes are hilarious; it may be the most staged-looking fighting of all time. Beginning with Loo training other fighters ("What was that? This is not a chawade. We need total concen-TWAY-tion," he yells at one student) and ending with Loo finally going home (in a completely out-of-left-field ending having nothing to do with the previous action but seeming somehow fitting anyway), the slapstick jokes come fast and furious, even parodying "The Dating Game" at one point. This is a direct precursor to ZAZ's later movies like "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun".
Then there's the incredible "Catholic High School Girls in Trouble", which aims to parody 70s porno flicks ("More shocking than 'Behind the Green Door'... Never before has the beauty of the sexual act been so crassly exploited!" the announcer screams.) To get an idea of the kind of humor seen here, picture a hot chick approaching a loser and saying in a breathy voice "Show me your nuts!" and the guy proceeding to start acting like a total loon. In "United Appeal for the Dead" Henry Gibson speaks at great length about death, the number one killer in the United States, and what his group can do to help a loved one who has died lead a normal life. "That's Armageddon" features George Lazenby and parodies every Irwin Allen disaster flick made. A young man and woman discover the pleasures of sex through an instructional record in "Sex Record", and "Courtroom" is a hilarious parody of courtroom melodramas featuring Wally (the real Tony Dow) and the Beav (Jerry Zucker mugging it up in place of Jerry Mathers) as observers. The movie begins and ends with two news-themed skits, "AM Today" and the racy "Eyewitness News", in which the newscasters watch a couple with the TV on having sex. And there's much more.
"The Kentucky Fried Movie" is not for all tastes; I've known people who have watched it and just said "This is stupid." It is, indeed, stupid, but within the confines of the genre, it's one of the best. You'll laugh at the stupid jokes and stupid puns and stupid lines and stupid stunts all the way through if you like this sort of thing. The movie is very clever in how it packs the laughs.
- May 12, 2006