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8/13/17

STOP! OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT - REVIEW


With a unashamedly silly title like Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and a premise this corny, it's no wonder this Sylvester Stallone-starring comedy from 1992 was badly received by pretty much every critic. This looked like an obvious turkey and it's still seen as a complete joke by most.

The film sees cop Joe Bomowski (Stallone) get an impromptu visit from his overbearing, if well-meaning, mother (Estelle Getty). She quickly gets on his nerves as she gets involved in every aspect of his life, embarrassing him every step of the way. When Joe's mother becomes a witness to a murder, Joe is soon forced to allow her to be a part of the investigation. This is one of those broad comedies that's predictable from the very first minute: right off the bat, you know that, by the end, Joe will learn a valuable lesson from his initially irritating mother and you know his shaky relationship with JoBeth Williams' Lieutenant will be fixed. On the surface, this is every bit the awful film it appears to be, evoking the likes of Junior, Mr Nanny, The Tooth Fairy or The Pacifier where action heroes are turned into inoffensive idiots in family-friendly, straight-to-video fare. Indeed, Sylvester Stallone doesn't look all that proud to be in this movie and the actor famously does not look back fondly on this particular role. But most critics have failed to ask key questions in regards to this film or others like it: what is this movie trying to do and does it do it well?

It's very clear from the get-go that this film was never aiming to be anything but a cheesy family comedy with a few cheap laughs and some action thrown in. It always has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek and I would argue that, in fact, it does manage to achieve exactly what it set out to. This is about as light-hearted and harmless as a movie can get and everything about it from the poster to the title makes this perfectly clear so if you start watching it expecting a typical Stallone vehicle like a dark thriller or an action-packed blockbuster then you're setting yourself up for disappointment, to say the least. Truth is, as far as family comedies go, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is perfectly fine: the cast is solid, the script has its share of funny moments, it's never annoying and there are even a few action beats, which is more than I can say for the unfunny and criminally dull Junior. This is the kind of movie you watch with your parents or grand-parents on Christmas Day while chewing on chocolate, it's certainly not another Rocky or Rambo and it never pretends to be so Siskel & Ebert may have panned it without mercy but, frankly, they completely missed the point.

This movie is just as cheesy, silly and unambitious as it looks but who's to say that every movie needs to be deep and serious? Sometimes you just want to sit back, turn your brain off and watch a completely safe and goofy little flick you'll forget about almost instantly. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot may be the fast-food of family movies but it actually doesn't taste all that bad.

Harmless fun.

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