Coneheads

(i)

 

So-so '90s movie based on '70s SNL sketch has edgy humor.
  • Review Date: June 17, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As a formulaic comedy based on a popular Saturday Night Live sketch from the 1970s, there isn't much in the way of positive messages.

Positive role models

For all their strange and "alien" ways, the Coneheads are a loving family who do what they can to care for each other.

Violence

Cartoonish violence. An alien father rips open the top of a car to threaten an Earthling teen who is trying to date his teenage daughter. While fighting a monster, various other Conehead aliens are shown decapitated as they scream to their deaths.

Sex

Brief male nudity (exposed buttocks). Occasional  "alien" double entendres involving sex organs. A teen Conehead is shown making out with her teen boyfriend and is later caught having a type of Conehead sex by her angry parents. A woman is shown making a pass at her driving instructor and talks of "extracurricular activities."

Language

"A--hole," "s--tbox," "crap." Occasional double entendres in which sexual terms are spoken in an alien language.

Consumerism

On a first date, two teens are shown eating at a Subway. Subway beverages and food items are prominently featured throughout the scene. The Conehead mother is shown buying magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Redbook.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Beldar is frequently shown smoking cigarettes, a cigar, and a pipe. He also is shown at a bar drinking beer with his neighbor but does not act intoxicated.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Coneheads is a 1993 movie inspired by the popular Saturday Night Live sketches from the 1970s. There is brief male nudity: Men's buttocks are exposed in one scene. There are the occasional double entendres in which well-known phrases involving body parts and functions are changed into words spoken on the Coneheads' home planet of Remulak. Aside from this, Beldar -- played by Dan Aykroyd -- is often shown smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. There is some violence: Other Coneheads are shown doing battle with a monster and end up with their heads decapitated and rolling down steps. Profanity includes "a--hole" and "s--tbox."

Parents say

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What's the story?

Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) and Prymatt Conehead (Jane Curtain) are trying their best to pass off as French immigrants attempting to make a new life for themselves in America, but there's one problem: They are actually aliens from the planet Remulak. They obtain false identification papers, and Beldar tries his best at his jobs -- appliance repair, cab driver, and driving instructor -- but his family is frequently pursued by Immigration and Naturalization Services. As if this wasn't bad enough, their teenage daughter is starting to date a mechanic (Chris Farley) whose demeanor and advances greatly displease Beldar. As the Coneheads try to pass for just another middle-class family in suburban New Jersey, they must escape government bureaucrats and prove to their home planet that they are still loyal to the overall mission of trying to destroy the Earth, even as they grow to like Earth ways and American culture.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

With an all-star cast of SNL alums from the '70s, '80s, and '90s to help make this movie version of the popular Saturday Night Live sketch from the 1970s, it seems a no-brainer that CONEHEADS would be a hilarious and successful comedy. The result, sadly, couldn't be further from the truth. What worked in the original sketches -- the silly alien behaviors, the voicings, the double entendres -- fall way short when extended into a feature-length movie. There simply isn't enough to the Coneheads as characters to make the jokes last over anything longer than a five-minute sketch.

It should have been funnier -- considering the talent involved -- but the jokes wear thin over time, and the characters are as restricted as the formulaic plot they're stuck inside. Not even Chris Farley was able to make this as funny as it should have been, and it wasn't for lack of trying. At the end of the day, it's hard to figure out why this movie was even made a full decade and a half after the popular sketch was first broadcast. What seemed like a somewhat edgy and silly sketch when originally presented comes across as sterile and safe when presented as a '90s movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about popular sketches from TV comedy shows being turned into movies. What are some other examples of movies based on TV comedy sketches?

  • Who are some popular characters you feel are worthy of their own movies?

  • What were some of the different types of humor employed in the movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 17, 1993
DVD release date:June 17, 2001
Cast:Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Chris Farley
Director:Steve Barron
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Space and aliens
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:Comic nudity and some double entendre humor.

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