by Scott Weinberg
National Lampoon's Movie Madness (a.k.a. National Lampoon Goes to the Movies) is one of those comedies that boggles the mind because, quite simply, it houses not one laugh. Not one. The 89 minutes you’ll spend while it’s running will most likely be spent wondering what the UA execs were thinking as this movie initially unspooled before them.Logically, the movie was dumped, shelved, quietly released on video years ago, and occasionally pops up on cable a few times a decade…which is where I caught it. Aside from a few blatant – and lovely – boobie scenes, there’s absolutely no reason to ever search this forgotten little turkey out.
"National Lampoon Sucks at Making Movies"
Since the movie is comprised of three half-hour vignettes, I suppose that’s where they got to “Goes to the Movies” concept for the title. One might expect a spoof of different movie genres; one would be wrong. Story one features Peter Riegert (Animal House) as a moronic middle-class guy who dumps his wife and gradually misplaces his children in an effort to expand his ‘personal growth’. I can see where some bits were meant to be satirical, but I’ve seen bread mold yield more amusing results than this insipid tale.
Act II centers around a woman who, after being molested with sticks of butter by some licentious dairy merchants, plans to take over the world’s margarine supply. It’s at this point I’ll mention that I’m not making this up. Save for a few lingering moments with Ann Dusenberry’s berries, this whole bit is an absolute chore to sit through. Still numb from the sheer awfulness of the film so far, I had mildly high hopes for the final tale. Unfortunately, this nonsensical ‘wacky policeman’ skit is not only one of the most wretched half-hours of comedy ever conceived, but there’s no random nudity to alleviate the tedium.
You might think a movie featuring a such an insanely eclectic cast (Peter Riegert, Richard Widmark, Ann Dusenberry, Diane Lane, Robert Culp, Christopher Lloyd, Julie Kavner, Joe Spinell, Olympia Dukakis, Bobby DiCicco, Dick Miller, Rhea Perlman, Candy Clark, Teresa Ganzel, Robby Benson, Fred Willard, Mary Woronov, Bill Kirchenbauer, Elisa Cook Jr., Margaret Whitton and even Henny Youngman!) would be good for at least a few wacky bits. You’d be more wrong than you’ve ever been about a film; leave National Lampoon's Movie Madness as history has intended: unknown, forgotten, and detested by the unfortunate few who’ve actually seen it.The DVD folks over at MGM probably realize that this title would sell about 14 copies, so this title, as yet, remains mercifully unreleased on DVD. To label a film 'the worst thing with the National Lampoon stamp on it' is a cruel assessment, but in this case it's true.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5992&reviewer=128
originally posted: 07/09/02 10:24:00