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Monday, March 16, 2015

There are classic movies and then there are “classic” movies; the two should never be confused. The Ten Commandments is a classic movie, while The Kentucky Fried Movie is a “classic” movie. Many comedy fans consider the Kentucky Fried Movie to be a “classic” because it is an early work of John Landis, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker. So, basically, it is a “classic” by default. When placed on its own merits, the Kentucky Fried Movie is not even worth watching for free on YouTube.

For fans of the Kentucky Fried Movie, I will start by saying that I understand why you find this movie funny. I can even understand why some people would find this movie hysterical. But unlike other Zucker brothers creations such as Airplane! And The Naked Gun series, the Kentucky Fried Movie is way too dated to be funny to anyone born after 1970 and that takes away from the subtle, and not so subtle, humor elements that have made this movie so popular.

When the Kentucky Fried Movie was first released, it was a huge hit. It made millions of dollars and paved the way for John Landis and the Zucker brothers to work on bigger projects. But the movie does not stand up to the test of time and that is why it is a “classic” instead of a classic.

I had seen bits and pieces of this movie over the years, but I finally got a chance to sit down and watch it recently. Its reputation as a piece of comedy history (it was ranked at #87 on some important list of the top 100 comedies of all-time) inspired me to fire up the film and take in its comedy goodness. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

One of the arguments made in favor of this comedy is that you have to have seen the reference material to really get the jokes. There was plenty of parody in Airplane!, but that movie stands on its own. If a joke needs to be explained, then it is not a good joke. If parody requires context, then it is just a bad imitation with poor jokes. You shouldn’t have to have seen any Bruce Lee movie to be able to laugh at the 31-minute kung fu parody in the Kentucky Fried Movie, but the humor is lost without having seen the source material. That, to me, is not good parody.

The Zucker brothers, for lack of a classy way to explain it, love boobies. This movie is filled with naked boobies and all size and shape of naked human beings. In my opinion, the funniest bit in the whole movie involves naked people rolling around on a couch while a broadcast news team watches through the television. I was pretty disappointed to find out that the broadcast news sex bit was not a Zucker original as it was lifted from British comedian Dave Allen. When I found out that the funniest bit in the movie wasn’t even original, I lost even more interest in the Kentucky Fried Movie.

As with any cult classic, the Kentucky Fried Movie has its small army of rabid fans who believe that this is the funniest movie ever created. I have no problem with that at all because I am part of a few cult movie fan bases myself. But as a movie being reviewed for mass consumption, the Kentucky Fried Movie just doesn’t make the grade.

You may or you may not like the Kentucky Fried Movie, but there is no middle ground. I would recommend that you watch it at least once so that you can make your own judgment, because I have a lot of respect for what John Landis and the Zucker brothers have accomplished and I think everything those guys have done should be seen by everyone at least once.

But I have to give two thumbs down to the Kentucky Fried Movie and give it a low rating. Even for a low-budget comedy, this movie is just not what I thought it would be and I thought it would be funny.

Rating: 1 out of 5

+George N Root III  is a drive-in movie addict who is currently not wearing pants. You would have to see the movie to get the joke.

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