My Stepmother is an Alien (1988)

mystepmotherisanalienRichard Benjamin’s movie is one without an audience. It’s too adult for kids, and too childish for the adult crowds. It tries very hard to pass itself off as a latter day “Splash” with aliens in place of mermaids, but the problem is Dan Akroyd was never really Tom Hanks, and the writers push the child element on the film so much, “My Stepmother is an Alien” ceases to become an out of this world romance comedy. It’s instead more about accepting your parents have to move on, with the central character being a very young Alyson Hanigan rather than, oh, the adults. Kim Basinger plays an alien named Celeste, from a seemingly big planet of hot aliens who comes to Earth to study an unnatural occurrence on her planet.

After crashing a party she meets Steve, as played by Akroyd, a widowed scientist studying radio waves that can be sent to other planets. When she gains a fondness for him, the two forms a relationship that instantly makes Steve’s daughter Jessie suspicious. After witnessing Celeste display unusual powers, as well as walking around with a hand bag that possesses a small alien within it that supplies her with anything she needs to pass as human, Jessie tries to show her father her true identity. The whole movie watches like one long flat joke that never has much of a punch line. Despite trying to be as funny possible, even enlisting star Akroyd and co-star Jon Lovitz (Yes, he can be funny when used properly), along with Kim Basinger who is capable of comedy in rare instances (She can do ditzy well), no one ever seems to have any fun here. We don’t have any fun, either.

Not to mention Akroyd is miscast as the leading man who really does nothing but plays straight man and reacts to everything around him. He doesn’t offer a hint of the sharp comic timing he’s remembered for in his stint on “Saturday Night Live.” “My Stepmother is an Alien” is still just a really inexplicable stinker from the late eighties. It’s that movie you always found at the video store on Sunday nights when all of the other good titles were rented. You walk in to a video store wanting a good kids film and a horror movie for the adults, and you sadly left with “Maximum Overdrive” and “My Stepmother is an Alien.” There’s the running gag about the alien bag, a goofy recurring plot point about Lovitz characters’ obsession with Grace Kelly, and a really silly climax involving Celeste and her alien overlords. It’s a cinematic turd with a serious identity crisis and one not even I enjoyed as a kid.