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UHF

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This movie found its following on video. It bombed in theaters despite getting Orion's best audience scores since the first "RoboCop". Although it made back its budget and actually did better than several other movies that year (including "Earth Girls Are Easy" and "Drugstore Cowboy"), the movie still did better on video. The special edition DVD from MGM was originally to be a trailer-only release, but Al-oholics from all across America wrote MGM to deliver an SE.



More Trivia from UHF
In the anything-goes comedic spirit of "The Naked Gun" and "Airplane!" comes "Weird Al" Yankovic's take on the movies and TV shows we hold dear.

George Newman (Yankovic) is a man of imagination...sadly, that's gotten him into trouble time and again. Having been fired from everywhere from the fish market to the burger joint thanks to his fantasies (the latest of which involves a spoof of "Raiders Of The Lost Ark"), he and his friend Bob (Bowe) are at a loss as to what to do next.

George's Uncle Harvey (Stanley Brock) is a gambling man in deep with a mobster named Mr. Big, but that doesn't matter right now. What does matter is that Harvey just won the rights to TV station U-62 in a back-room poker game. Harvey's wife Esther (Sue Ann Langdon) sees this as a golden opportunity for George, so effective that night, George has his own TV station.

Right from the get-go, George and his girlfriend Teri (Jackson) are encountering strange and interesting people around the station, including a coin-collecting bum (Vance Colvig) and an otherworldly scientist (Geary) who makes his residence amidst beakers, tubes and TVs playing reruns of "Mr. Ed".

On his first official day, George (accompanied again by Bob) meets Pamela Finklestein (Drescher), a secretary/aspiring anchor who advises George against delivering a mis-routed package to a rival TV station...and with good reason.

The rival TV station is run by the merciless R.J Fletcher (McCarthy), a man who "has the town in the palm of his hand". This ruthless individual has got gripes with everybody, whether it be with his own son Richard (John Paragon), or with George, who gets anger and stone silence from R.J and his cronies. On his way out, George befriends and hires Stanley Spadowski (Richards), a simple-minded janitor who cares for his mop and for cleanliness. Fired from R.J's station, Stanley will soon see greater things than janitorial experience.

It's hard to spice up a line-up of reruns and local programming, but George tries in every way possible, from interviewing a clumsy shop teacher (Emo Phillips) to hosting a kiddie show with an unenthusiastic audience...from sending Pam out to cover a mayoral meeting with a midget cameraman (Billy Barty) to asking Teri out for a date over the air.

Falling asleep to "Beverly Hillbillies" reruns (leading into a great spoof of the song and video "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits), he unintentially stands up Teri, thereby shattering his relationship with her.

Depressed and wanting to get drunk, he sends Stanley out to cover the kiddie show. While drowning his sorrows in a drink with an umbrella at a nearby bar, George finds that he's struck ratings gold. With Stanley Spadowski as a new kiddie sensation, thanks to his bizzare gimmicks and off-kilter sense of upbeat humor, George heads back to the station and starts brainstorming more ideas.

Soon, the insane hits are coming fast and furious (while George is trying to win back Teri)... "Wheel Of Fish", "Celebrity Mud Wrestling", "Raul's Wild Kingdom" (where poodles fly out of windows and turtles stick to the ceiling), and more oddities. While the audiences are eating it up, Fletcher is losing viewers.

In an attempt to regain control, Fletcher buys the station, looking to demolish it. This leads to a freakish festival of acts in a "Save Our Station" telethon. When Spadowski is kidnapped, George goes to the rescue.

Will George save Stanley and win back Teri? Will the station survive? Will R.J get his comeuppance? It's the 80s, silly, what do you think?

Verdict?

This cult classic has weirdness written all over it, but consider the source and it's not surprising. Yankovic and Levey, along with a talented cast of character actors and odd personalities, bring plenty of humor (and even a little heart) to this tale.

This movie is a great example of triumph over adversity, and as a bonus, the gags hit more often than they miss.

Don't miss this one!

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Odd humor, funny characters, and good spoofs...

Weaknesses? A few jokes do miss. If you're emotional about the victims of drunk-driving, this might be a little sad as well. (See trivia for the explanation)

Our rating: 8.5 out of 10


Review Written by John Edward Kilduff:  Contact  |  More Reviews by John Edward Kilduff
UHF