If there is one big flaw that keeps “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie” from being either really bad or really good, is that it’s never quite sure what to make of itself. The tonal imbalance and wildly inconsistent mood keeps the movie bipolar and surreal. It’s too gross for kids, and too tame for adults, so it’s right in the middle of nowhere. “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie” is based on the wildly popular series of stickers that were direct spoofs of the popular eighties franchise The Cabbage Patch Kids. The series of stickers presented buyers with their own disgusting, offensive, and grotesque versions of Cabbage Patch characters, and for many years they were a staple for folks that appreciated humor with a bad taste.
“The Garbage Pail Kids Movie” tries to turn the titular characters in to lovable anti-heroes, which is a giant faux pas considering the characters are not at all charming or lovable. But then this is the eighties, where even maniacal Gremlins, and a child killer with claws for fingers ended up becoming mascots with young fan bases. Director John Carl Buechler and the studio tries to tame the Garbage Pail Kids for a wider audience, devising a small array of Garbage Pail Kids that are disgusting, but charming in their own right. True, they fart, vomit, and pee on themselves, but they’re also good hearted, loyal, and are capable of being redeemed when around the right company. Set in modern times, The Garbage Pail Kids are magical entities from another planet that reside in a small space ship that also looks like a garbage pail.
Somehow the spaceship ends up in the ownership of antiques collector Captain Manzini, who keeps the Garbage Pail Kids contained at all times. After young Dodger accidentally knocks over the Garbage Pail, he releases the kids, allowing them to wreak havoc. Much to our disappointment, the Garbage Pail Kids don’t do much havoc wreaking. They’re good natured, and fun loving, and spend most of their time drinking in bars, and crashing movie theaters. They also have no real magic, except the relentless need to sew. This arouses the attention of Dodger’s crush, local thug and fashion lover Tangerine, who begins using Dodger and the Garbage Pail Kids to help her become a fashion designer. “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie” is thin on plot, and what narrative there is, is often nonsensical and incredibly scattered. Why can the Garbage Pail Kids break free from their pail space ship so easily, but require a magical chant to get them back in to it? What planet are they from? How did Captain Manzini find them?
There’s also nothing inherently threatening or disgusting about the Kids, despite the incredibly bug eyed creature effects elicited to bring them to life for the film. The puppetry mixed with the costume work by the stunt people underneath make the film utterly surreal, even when the Kids are breaking in to a rousing song to help inspire them to sew a bunch of jackets for Dodger. The closest to bad taste and uncomfortable humor the movie gets has nothing to do with the titular monsters, as character Tangerine, who looks to be in her mid-twenties, tries to seduce twelve year old Dodger in to doing her bidding time and time again. This involves her flashing her legs, and cleavage as he gawks and salivates. Yikes. “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie” misses the point of the original stickers, and tries to build a weird movie series out of something that should have never been adapted to begin with. It’s a terrible, terrible movie, but one that oddly warrants at least one viewing for the masochistic and morbidly curious.
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie from Shout! Factory comes with reversible cover art for the Blu-Ray. There’s the eleven minute “The Effects of the Garbage Pail Kids Movie,” a segment with director John Carl Buechler who discusses his involvement with the film, his pitch on the movie that gave him the job, the studio’s desire to turn the Garbage Pail Kids in to adorable characters, and adapting the trading cards. There’s a six minute interview with Assistant Director Thomas Irvine who discusses shooting the film in a warehouse, working with Mackenzie Astin, and how he admires the work of John Carl Buechler. There’s a twenty seven minute interview with film star Mackenzie Astin, who gives a very detailed discussion about working on the movie. He also discusses the history of the film, and how he enjoys talking to fans. The twenty one minute “Interview with the Garbage Pail Kids” is an interview with two of the actors that played the title characters of the film, and their experience on the movie. Finally, there’s the original theatrical trailer for the film.