Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on August 12, 1988
Directed by Stewart Raffill
Written by Stewart Raffill and Steve Feke
Cast: Jade Calegory, Christine Ebersole, Jonathan Ward, Tina Caspary, Lauren Stanley, Vinnie Torrente, Martin West, Ivan J. Rado, Danny Cooksey, Nikki Cox and Jennifer Aniston (as dancers, apparently), and Squire Fridell as Ronald McDonald
A while back I’d read that whenever comedic actor Paul Rudd would appear on a certain late-night talk show to promote his latest film, he’d surprise everyone with a different clip, one showing a wheelchair-bound boy careening off a cliff edge and plunging into a lake. This scene, from a family sci-fi fantasy film titled Mac and Me, would always elicit a hearty round of laughter from the audience members and host, and when I later discovered it had a bottom-dwelling 0% rating at the Rotten Tomatoes aggregate film review site, I decided it was high time I got in on the fun as well.
Well, ‘fun’ it was not, as I so regrettably found out. Good lord, what a sorry excuse for a message film! What a sorry excuse for a film! This was nothing more than a shameless pilfering of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, with a young boy named Eric befriending an alien life form named Mac (an acronym for ‘Mysterious Alien Creature’, or more appropriately, ‘McDonald’s Ad Campaign’) and getting into all sorts of riotous and life-threatening misadventures. All that was missing from this cinematic doppelgänger were scenes of Mac phoning home and riding a bicycle across a night sky; even so, it made me wonder if a copyright infringement lawsuit was ever drawn up by Spielberg’s lawyers and presented to the responsible parties. Indeed, it was that blatant, and that bad.
But since this movie was aimed squarely at kids, and undemanding ones at that, the low-grade story and implausible situations could be considered excusable. But if you’re an adult viewer and looking for positives, well, good luck with that. I guess you could argue that Alan Silvestri’s majestic score was a plus, though it sounded like it belonged in an entirely different film altogether, and the acting of newcomer Jade Calegory, playing Eric, thankfully wasn’t grating or obnoxious, as you might expect. But director Stewart Raffill, whose most recent efforts included The Ice Pirates four years earlier, was merely so-so behind the camera, and his work on the screenplay—co-authored with television writer Steve Feke—was awkward at best, and sickening at its worst.
And when I say sickening, I’m referring to Mac and his nightmare fuel family: bipedal and hairless, with beer-gorged stomachs, dried pig ears, and eyes straight from the baddest of acid trips. These things were just plain awful, and their every appearance on-screen was an eye-rolling mess. Want more? How about a ‘pray it isn’t really happening’ dance sequence inside a McDonald’s restaurant, which featured Mac in a bear suit performing disco moves on a countertop, while everyone else—including three Washington Redskins players in full uniform—danced their happy hearts out? And more? How about to top it all off, an explosive fireball of an ending, which I’ll spoil by telling you that Eric is…killed!
Yes, killed…as in, he literally meets his fiery (or maybe bullet-riddled) demise. Which then of course begs the question: can Mac and his alien family—who somehow survived the explosion—coax Eric’s dead body back to life? I hate to say this, but you’ll have to sit through 95 minutes of this cosmic freak show to find out. And if you’re wondering why, after all this negativity, I’m giving Mac and Me a rating of 1 instead of a much-deserved zero, it’s because to some extent I was entertained…just not in the way the filmmakers intended. (1/10)