Wednesday 18 August 2010

Obscurity Files #19 - Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot

SLACKER Obscurity Files aims to put the spotlight onto a series of films that time and audiences have otherwise forgotten. With The Expendables about to hit our screens we thought we'd look up one of Sly Stallone's less memorable films. Today, it's Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
More after the jump...

First there was Rocky - the classic underdog tale of a kindly street thug fighting against adversity. Then there was Rambo - the classic underdog tale of a kindly Vietnam vet fighting against adversity...with guns. Then things went a bit quiet. Then there was Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Then things went quieter...

Poor old Joe Bomowski (Sylvester Stallone) just can't catch a break. First he gets dumped by his girlfriend who's also his boss, then his little old Mom gets on a plane to come and visit. He's hoping that she's not going to stay too long, but when she witnesses a murder, they're both pulled into a case of insurance fraud and an illegal arms ring.

Sly's Mom (or as I'm going to refer to her, Mum) was played by Estelle Getty of Golden Girls fame. She'd appeared in a couple of films before like Mannequin and Tootsie, but it was on television where she became an icon. Her role on Golden Girls as Sophia Petrillo called on her to act like a Sicilian busy body Grandmother; not exactly a stretch for Getty. She still became the shows most popular character though.

She basically plays the same character here, albeit with a steroid enhanced son with obvious issues with the ladies. Tutti Bomowski starts to control her son's life like he was still 11 years old, and Stallone can do nothing except whine about it. It doesn't take long for Tutti to annoy. Sure, she has good intentions, but there's no fun in seeing a little old lady teach gigantic hulk Sylvester Stallone how to stand up to his bullies.

He's also in a 'kind of' relationship with his immediate superior, and Tutti steps in to try and get her son married as soon as possible. She might as well be spitting on tissue and rubbing his face every ten seconds. It's the kind of meddling that would drive a person crazy in real life, and it doesn't make for a comical scenario here. Add to that the ridiculous plot about gun smugglers and petty street heavies, and you've got a painful 90 minutes in front of you.

Stop! is often referred to as a flop, but it took 70 million dollars worldwide. I don't know the precise budget, but it was probably in the region of 35-40 million, so that's still profit. Over half of that was from foreign territories, so maybe that's why it's seen as a financial failure. It also followed Stallone's previous failure Oscar, a completely forgotten film directed by John Landis that was seen as the start of Sly's box office downfall. He's definitely had ups and downs over his 40 year career, but this film was far from his worst performing.

Of course critically, that's a whole different story. It wasn't kindly received by many critics, and even Stallone publicly disowned this film, calling it the worst thing he'd ever made. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's not the worst concept that Hollywood has ever come up with, though it definitely fails in its execution. When you're working through the old 'mismatched cops buddy comedy' formula, this was bound to happen eventually. Although it does somewhat resemble the kind of film that would star Troy McClure from the Simpsons.

Estelle Getty never really made another film after this. Perhaps it was due to her career winding down, or perhaps she felt a bit burned from the backlash this film received. To be fair, she does exactly what the role demands, but the harping does get a little grating after a while. The Golden Girls may have finished, but she returned to television and reprised her role as Sophia Petrillo in a different show, Empty Nest.

Stallone gave up on trying to be funny and returned to the more action orientated roles that made him a superstar, with Demolition Man and Cliffhanger both arriving in 1993. Stallone wisely realised that comedy was not his forte, and apart from a minor appearance in Spy Kids 3D, he's kept his career alive by resurrecting the action icons that initially made him famous, or by playing roles that aren't too far removed (hello Expendables).

This film really was terrible, and it hasn't got any better with age. Yeah, it's popcorny fluff, but it's neither adequately funny or able to offer any memorable action. Also, I really can't forgive any film thats chief source of comedy is seeing a little old lady holding a gun.

Save from obscurity? NO


  1. holy hell this movie was brilliant. watch the scene where she buys the mac 10, and washes it, sequentially. pls.