Yes, MEET THE FEEBLES is a one-joke film. But it's a pretty good joke, in a crude kind of way. The Feebles are a troupe of sleazy show business types trying to mount a song-and-dance show they hope will launch them on the road to TV fame and fortune. But they're not human: they're
offensive foam puppets who fornicate, abuse drugs and alcohol, and generally behave like the scum of the earth while producing the seedy Fabulous Feebles Variety Hour. Naturally, in this simultaneous parody of "The Muppets" television series and the backstage dramas of yore, everything that can go
MEET THE FEEBLES is far less concerned with plot than with stringing together a series of cruel and extremely gross gags. The movie opens as the randy host, Harry the Hare, discovers that he has a loathsome sexually transmitted disease (could it be AIDS?). The stage manager is a worm. Wynyard the
frog--who does a knife-throwing act--has Vietnam flashbacks. Sandy the chicken has filed a paternity suit against Sid the juggling elephant, who swears the child isn't his. The show's director, Sebastian the Fox, is a frustrated performer and eventually gets to do his big number, a ditty called
"Sodomy" ("You might think it odd o' me...").The show's really big star, Heidi the hippo, is smarting from her romantic betrayal by disgusting producer Bletch the walrus, who's taken up with a purring Siamese pussy named Samantha.
Bletch is also dealing drugs out of his office, with thuggish Barry the bulldog handling the leg-breaking side of the business. Bletch's assistant, Trevor the rat, makes pornographic movies starring pierced bovines and whip-cracking cockroaches. And to make it all worse, a muckraking fly--the sort
of sleazy tabloid journalist who quite literally wallows in excrement--has gotten a whiff of something nasty going on at the Feebles studio and won't leave off investigating until he finds out what it is. Into this den of iniquity stumbles poor, sweet, lisping Robert the hedgehog, fresh out of
drama school and ripe to fall in love with imperious dancing poodle Lucille. The various sketches are strung along the spine of Robert's sappy romance, which is as predictable as it ought to be: Lucille falls for Robert, Robert loses Lucille, Lucille and Robert are happily reunited at the end.
They're the only ones for whom things end happily, however: The rest of the foam and wire armature cast goes down in a hail of bullets when Heidi decides she's had enough and lets loose with a machine gun.
MEET THE FEEBLES is a film for everyone whose teeth hurt every time they see those terminally sweet, blandly pleasant Muppets. That said, MEET THE FEEBLES wasn't originally intended to be a feature-length film, and it's an idea that would probably have been better served at shorter length. This
1989 film only received theatrical release in the US in 1995, after it became a hot item on the underground video scene. It's the second feature directed by New Zealand bad boy Peter Jackson, whose first and third films--the coarse sci-fi comedy BAD TASTE and over-the-top zombie parody DEAD
ALIVE--offered similar mixes of hoary genre cliche and gross-out sight gags. Aggressive tastelessness is a key element in this film's aesthetic, as is grotesque excess; overall, the film's sensibilities are firmly mired in the toilet and the fraternity house, dedicated to grabbing complacently
jaded viewers by the scruff and forcing them to gasp, "I can't believe they did that!" Neverthless, it has moments of undeniable comic genius and is often agonizingly funny. (Violence, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1989
- Rating: NR
- Review: Yes, MEET THE FEEBLES is a one-joke film. But it's a pretty good joke, in a crude kind of way. The Feebles are a troupe of sleazy show business types trying to mount a song-and-dance show they hope will launch them on the road to TV fame and fortune. But t… (more)