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The Stuff Reviews

This sociopolitical black comedy from Larry Cohen presents us with an America that is addicted to a new yogurtlike dessert called "The Stuff." Low in calories and good tasting, the Stuff has become such a force in the dessert market that a group of ice-cream company executives hires industrial spy Moe Rutherford (Michael Moriarty) to uncover the secret ingredients of the popular food item. With the help of marketing whiz Nicole Kendall (Andrea Marcovicci) and cookie king Chocolate Chip Charlie (Garrett Morris), Moe learns that the Stuff is an active bacteria mined from the earth's core. It literally takes over the bodies of those who eat it and then, after destroying the person, exits in a huge steady stream from the victims' gaping mouths. THE STUFF attacks American business practices, advertising, mindless consumers, and even right-wing fanaticism (Paul Sorvino is a nutty colonel) by combining a horror/science-fiction tale with large doses of biting black humor. Cohen evokes the feel of a 1950s sci-fi film, self-consciously echoing everything from INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS to THE BLOB. Unfortunately, the movie is wildly disjointed (witness Danny Aiello's scene, which seems to be pulled from another movie), as if Cohen had a difficult time integrating all his fascinating ideas into a single, coherent plot line. Clara Peller, the elderly "Where's the beef?" lady from the Wendy's commercials, makes a cameo in a Stuff commercial, as does actress Brooke Adams in a spot that appears after the closing credits.