Dan Petito Random

I Redlined Roger Ebert’s 0.5 Star Review Of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot

Order must be restored.

I was far from serious when I said my next post would be a rebuttal to Roger Ebert’s 1992 0.5 star review of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, but here we are.

A lot of great movies released in 1992. A Few Good Men, Last of the Mohicans, Reservoir Dogs, and Scent of a Woman, to name a few; all of which Roger Ebert wrote fondly about, and rightly so. While it would be considered unusual for someone to mention Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot in the same breath as the aforementioned films (unless you’re me), I’m perplexed as to why Roger Ebert even felt the need to review it. Now, because he did and Stop! Or Mom Will Shoot didn’t deserve this, I will proceed with it’s long overdue defense. Insufficient remarks have been stricken and my revisions added in red to reflect an acceptable review by a person who isn’t immune to joy.

“Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” is one of those movies so dimwitted, so utterly lacking in even the smallest morsel of redeeming value, that you stare at the screen in stunned disbelief full of heart and joy that you stare at the screen in anger once the credits roll because you don’t want it to ever end. 

It is moronic beyond comprehension, an exercise in desperation during which even Sylvester Stallone, a repository of self-confidence, seems to be disheartened fun and entertaining beyond comprehension, an exercise in demonstrating an action hero stepping out of their element and approaching a drastically different role with such confidence and determination.

The film starts Stallone as a big-city cop. The city may be Los Angeles but this is the kind of film where it’s hard to be sure. No revisions proposed

He’s a bachelor who has just broken up with his lieutenant (JoBeth Williams, and now his mother has decided to fly out and visit him. No revisions proposed

She’s played by Estelle Getty of TV’s “Golden Girls,” as a pint-sized little dynamo who has apparently spent the entire flight showing everybody on the plane Stallone’s baby pictures; this was really where the movie hooked me. 

The movie then develops into a no brainer about some stolen guns and an insurance fraud, with Getty following Stallone everywhere he goes, wandering wide-eyed into the center of the action. Allegedly humorous scenes include one in which Perhaps the funniest scene is where Stallone is trying to talk a would-be suicide down from a window ledge, and his mother grabs a police bullhorn and gives Sly such a hard time that the suicide has mercy on him and decides not to jump. Then there’s a scene where she steps into the middle of a shootout and is the only witness to the crime. It’s hard to decide which scene I loved more. 

There isn’t a laugh are so many laughs in this movie that I never needed to look for them Not a single one, and believe me, I was looking. The situation isn’t funny, the characters aren’t funny, and the dialogue’s idea of humor is lots of closeups of sweet little Estelle Getty using naughty words, which proves incredibly effective.

The domineering mother is not one of my favorite comic characters anywayand Getty’s firecracker presence boosts Stallone’s performance to levels that we never could have imagined. “Stop! or My Mom Will Shoot” loses its nerve and doesn’t make Getty half as bad as she could have been, or Stallone nearly the milquetoast his character should really be. What we get instead of as a result are personalities and comic characters are instead of two stick figures, plugged into a series of unfunny , unoriginal situations that are shining examples of inventive screen-writing seem taken right off the shelf and powerhouse acting. 

Look at the “suicide” scene, for example. Countless cops have shared high ledges with countless suicides in the movies, sometimes for dramatic purposes, sometimes for comic, sometimes (as in Mel Gibson’s great “Lethal Weapon” scene) for both. Stop! is the most unwound cohesive, phoned-in dialed-in, contrived spontaneously thoughtful version of this situation I have ever seen. There is no spark at all so much spark.

Scrutinizing Praising the credits for the movie, I find that it runs 87 minutes; despite having three writers and producers. what a perfect run time and creative team. 

Such statistics are hints of desperation genius. Stallone is an increasingly capable comic actor (see his also underrated “Oscar”), and Estelle Getty of course can be funny and charming is perfect. Here they seem trapped right at home in every actor’s nightmare dream, a movie that was filmed before it was written written before it was filmed

So there you have it. If for some reason you’re interested in reading the original version of the review (I’m not sure why you would be), it’s pretty easy to find, but I won’t be linking to it. You could also just read it as if the strikethroughs and redlines don’t exist, but in the end (to me), this is the review that Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot deserved. Next up, likely something Jean-Claude Van Damme related, or not.

Stay safe out in there.


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