This lightheaded, generally painless fluff earned some of the most hostile reviews of the year, as critics' cups ran over with venom, spewed primarily at star Sylvester Stallone. Lately Stallone's been trying to hack a pathway out of the RAMBO jungle and into more diverse roles, and STOP!
OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT is a rather too-calculated career move.
LAPD Sergeant Joe Bomowski (Stallone) is one of filmdom's typical shoot-em-up maverick officers of the law. Bullets and car chases don't phase Joe, but he's shaken when his diminutive, widowed mother Tutti (Estelle Getty) pops into town for a surprise visit. Just as Joe feared, Tutti undermines
his macho image by displaying baby portraits to anyone within reach and telling embarrassing stories about his childhood. She also nags Joe about his clothes, kvetches over his messy apartment and interferes in his on-again-off-again romance with his department superior, Lt. Gwen Harper (the
usually reliable JoBeth Williams, setting the women's movement back a millenium with a dithery performance).
Tutti washes her son's monstrous revolver in detergent, rendering it clean and shiny and unusable. To replace it she innocently visits a dealer in illegal arms, just in time to witness the hood's murder by persons unknown. Naturally Tutti refuses to help the police unless her son is assigned to
the investigation, so Joe has to cope with his mom tagging along through a non-taxing plot involving an evil financeer dabbling in weapons-smuggling and S&L fraud. A major clue turns out to be that one of his henchmen has a persistent sneeze--that's the level of the material. The villain is played
by acclaimed thespian Roger Rees, a long way from his stage role as Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby. Rees joins a number of British actors imported to play suave bad guys in Yank actioners; lately one must look no further than the first suspect with proper manners and diction to identify the criminal
Even he's left alive at the end of this one, making STOP! OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT fairly mild in the violence department. Apart from a great dual on the tarmac between a getaway plane and a truck, the sequences are nothing spectacular, just done well enough to keep buffs amused; ditto the comedy.
Stallone has long exercised humor both in the ROCKY series and his previous OSCAR, so there's really no novelty here, except for a nightmare bit showing the emasculated hero finding himself in a diaper again. That's a sight. Estelle Getty, popular on TV's geriatric sitcom "The Golden Girls," is
okay as the busybody parent, stopping a hair short of Mr. Magoo style caricature. The doting-mother jokes are all familiar, but rendered with an earnest quality, as though a parent-offspring mediation group is to convene after the film ends.
This is Stallone striving to duplicate Arnold Schwarzenegger's KINDERGARTEN COP feat, cross-breeding a violent screen persona with cutesy sitcom farce. In both movies the brawny stars have it both ways, brandishing their big guns in outbursts of bloody mayhem, then counterpointing with warm,
cuddly family fun. In Arnold's case the latter was a romp with a mob of unruly toddlers; Sylvester gets his yocks by sharing scenes with a meddlesome little old lady.
Both vehicles were produced by Ivan Reitman (GHOSTBUSTERS, LEGAL EAGLES), whose blockbuster comedies sometimes stretch themselves thin to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Although STOP! OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT took a pounding from critics, it did moderate business in theaters. (Violence,profanity.)
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