Saturday, June 28, 2014

Morons in Outer Space

What is it with Joe and outer space?  Maybe he pines for his lost Venusians.  You know the old story: he was far too ordinary on Venus, and he knew Earth was the place to make it in show business.  If you want to make it on Venus, you have to be good at clerical work, as Venus is mostly a planet of office space.
Anyway, judging by the titles alone, this is the second of Joe's forays into space, and there's only one left called Flying Saucer Daffy.  Hey!  Daffy Duck was supposed to do that one.  But the Stooges are nothing if not quick learners.  They learned from Space Ship Sappy that the mechanics of space travel are story killers.  Better to just skip ahead to where the Stooges have landed and acclimatized themselves to their new extraterrestrial surroundings, as in our next Stooge flick, Outer Space Jitters.  And the boys work fast too!  Despite their advanced age, they're already interested in meeting some Sunevian women.  Meanwhile, Professor Jones (Emil Sitka) is interested in learning from the Sunev people, as they apparently have much to teach us primitive Earth types.
Now, you might be wondering... what's the deal here?  Have the Stooges been to another one of those finishing schools?  Did it take this time?  Is the heredity / environment debate they so often find themselves embroiled in finally over?  Well... does this answer your question?  Thank God some things don't change.
And then... the plot pudding thickens as it percolates.  Professor Sitka... I mean, Jones, gets a demonstration of Sunevian technology.  They're ahead of us in tech stuff, but they're hung up on Frankenstein just like we are.  Alas, Jones finds out the Sunevians aren't the idealist aliens from The Day the Earth Stood Still... the original, not the Keanu Reeves remake.  And at least Marvin the Martian had a good reason to destroy the Earth... it was blocking his view of Venus!  The Sunevians seem to be preparing to attack the Earth just to scare us!  Welp, that's the basis for the industry known as Hollywood for ya.
Meanwhile, the Stooges are about to meet the ladies, but along the way they pass by a bunch of Sunevian treasure, which is strangely similar to 20th century Earth treasure!  Bars of gold and gems, but they're not as locked up as Earthlings do with their treasure.  Anyway, on to the girls.  Welp, some of the hardcore feminists out there just might slightly appreciate this scene, if only for at least one reason.  As The Grand Slitz explained earlier, Sunevians have electricity flowing through them instead of... blood?  I forget already.  Anyway, Moe and the Sunevian dame he victimizes share a kiss, but Moe almost gets electrocuted to death.  If only... right, some of you girls out there?  But the patriarchal nature of the known universe is restored, as the gal hands Moe her sash and they share a normal kiss.  Phooey.  But what is there to be said?  Who wouldn't want to kiss an attractive extra-terrestrial?  I do like her dress, which has a shiny pattern on it, reminiscent of a globular cluster.  Larry and Joe eventually show up.  Larry offers his Sunevian gal the gift of unpopped popcorn, and Joe's holding an uncooked chicken.  Again, jokes beaten to death, thanks to Joe.  Alas, the filmmakers didn't have the time nor the inclination to editing to have the Stooges spit out a puff of cigarette smoke.  Editing is done with Joe's gag... is it just me, or was Don Knotts doing an impression of Larry?
And then... a feast!  No good Stooge film is complete with a meal round a big dining room table.  Well, the Sunevians aren't total primitives, after all!  But what's on the menu?  Clam shells.  Rough way to get your calcium.  They've been watching too many Stooge films!  Larry makes a fine culinary joke... pun intended.  But just before that, The High Mucky Muck (played by Jerry Stiller precursor Philip van Zandt) gives away the game: water is the Sunevian's only weakness, just like the Wicked Witch of the West, and every bad guy in pretty much every M. Night Shyamalan film after The Sixth Sense.
...anyway, I think I've spent too much time on this one.  The only other thing I'll point out is that here the Stooges run past a carefully placed stage lamp.  Boy!  Besser's making them jump through all kinds of hoops!  Ooh, one other detail.  It's not often that the Stooges are asked to actually destroy something.  More often than not, they inadvertently destroy stuff.  You know, for the sake of laughter.  This time, it's a small act of interstellar war.  Thank God there's alien races that can be defeated by the Stooges.  But while Moe and Larry do all the heavy lifting of destroying the Sunevian Frankenstein machine, Joe's busy enriching himself with the gold and jewels from before, despite the threat of poison.  He fills his pants pockets so much that his damn pants fall right off.  Normally, if this happened to Curly or Moe or Larry or Shemp, they might be ashamed about that.  Apparently, not Joe.
So, to conclude, I never thought I'd give a Besser Stooge short four stars... so maybe I'll just make this one three and a half.  It's one that even Joe couldn't totally screw up!  All hail Joe!  All hail Joe!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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