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Meet the Applegates (1990)

2:01 | Trailer
Modeling themselves after an idyllic cookie-cutter suburban 1950s family, a colony of insects move from South America into the United States with the intent of getting access to the nation's nuclear resources.


Michael Lehmann



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Begley Jr. ... Richard P. Applegate
Stockard Channing ... Jane Applegate
Dabney Coleman ... Aunt Bea
Robert Jayne ... Johnny Applegate (as Bobby Jacoby)
Camille Cooper ... Sally Applegate (as Cami Cooper)
Glenn Shadix ... Greg Samson
Susan Barnes Susan Barnes ... Opal Withers
Adam Biesk Adam Biesk ... Vince Sampson
Savannah Smith Boucher ... Dottie (as Savannah Smith Bouchér)
Roger Aaron Brown ... Sheriff Heidegger
Lee Garlington ... Nita Samson
Philip Arthur Ross Philip Arthur Ross ... Kevin
Steven Robert Ross Steven Robert Ross ... Kenny
Mark Bringelson ... Rich Block, Family Bazaar Magazine
Chuck Lafont Chuck Lafont ... Clem Shepherd


Giant preying mantis living in a south American jungle decide to move into suburban USA. Disguised as humans, the mantis are planning something.. Could it be connected to dad's job in the power station perhaps ?. One day the daughter mantis forgets WHAT she really is when she's with her boyfriend.. oops. Written by s jones

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Meet the new bugs on the block. See more »


Comedy | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

1 February 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Applegates See more »


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$274,815, 3 February 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Filmed in 1988/1989 but remained unreleased in the United States until early 1991 due to the financial woes of New World Pictures. See more »


Richard P. Applegate: It's imperative that we maintain a believable cover while I infiltrate and sabotage the nucular power plant.
Johnny Applegate: It's "nuclear," Dad.
Richard P. Applegate: Lesson number one: Most people say "nucular." Next time, get it right.
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Alternate Versions

The Media Home Entertainment VHS is also missing the extended ending. See more »

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User Reviews

Amusing mix of eco-comedy and satire on American `normal'
13 November 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Angered by a logging company encroaching deep into their natural forest, a family of large insects camouflage themselves as humans and blend themselves into a small American town. Dick gets a job with the nuclear power plant in order to sabotage it and wage war on the human population. However the family finds that their attempts to blend in are working a little too easy and they endanger their own mission.

Despite being a little too gory for my tastes, this comedy is actually quite sharp in it's main satire on American life. The main joke for me was the way the family of bugs are sucked into the lifestyle of American mores – the mother gives in to commercialism, the son to drugs, the daughter to teenage sex and the father to adultery. It's comical to watch their descent and works pretty well. Where's it's all going is less clear and the message is not so clear in regards whether becoming `normal' is for the best or not. What is clear is the eco message which pokes fun at those who would make war on nature (whether bug or human) without respect for other life forms.

For a 90 minute film it all works pretty well and is actually quite imaginative. The gore put me off a little, in the gore of the eggs and bugs generally and I would have preferred if they had just had the bugs without all the slime and stuff. The cast do a good job carrying the material – their performances generally help keep up the mood of weirdness! Begley Jnr and Channing are both good in the leads – each giving in to their human environment. The kids are OK but the best performance is an outrageous performance from Coleman as the queen of the species – complete with full drag and moustache!

Overall this never quite delivers as many laughs as it's clever and funny pitch but it is still worth a watch. It has a surreal picture book image of `normal' America that it slowly explodes. For me, you could take or leave the eco message and still enjoy the film. Not great but different enough to be worth a try.

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