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New Line Home Cinema presents
The Stupids (1996)

"Note to self: Must buy handheld tape recorder. Then I will no longer be speaking into the garage door opener."
- Joan Stupid (Jessica Lundy)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: March 10, 2004

Stars: Tom Arnold, Jessica Lundy
Director: John Landis

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: PG for (nothing offensive)
Run Time: 01h:34m:51s
Release Date: February 10, 2004
UPC: 794043695926
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B-B+B C-

DVD Review

To be truthful, one does not go into viewing a film titled The Stupids with the expectations of finding the next great Hollywood classic, and that's fine. Films like this exist for one reason alone, to make us laugh, and this John Landis comedy does just that, although not with the zeal of the director's previous efforts.

The Stupids is based on a series of children's books unknown by me, but apparently quite popular. They tell of the Stupid family—Stanley (Arnold), Joan (Lundy), Buster (Bug Hall), and Petunia (Alex McKenna), and their day-to-day activities in a world that just doesn't understand them. The plot is set into motion when Stanley goes outside one morning to find that his trash cans are empty and realizes that someone must be stealing their garbage. Intent on solving the mystery, Stanley hides in the bushes one night and follows the truck that comes and takes the garbage away.

Along the way, Stanley and his family get mixed up with illegal arms dealers, a janitor they believe to be The Lord (his name just happens to be Lloyd), and Bob Keeshan, going a long way from Captain Kangaroo, as a museum curator.

Landis has made his share of timeless comedy classics, and while The Stupids is a far cry from Animal House there are flashes of solid humor and even some well-observed satire. The film will appeal largely to children, as the humor is more cartoon-like, with no bathroom gags that litter so many of today's comedies aimed at children.

Landis peppers the film with cameos by directors of better films including David Cronenberg and Costa Gavras, as well as such distinguished actors as Christopher Lee. The inclusion of these legends seems out of place in the overall aspect of the film, but given that The Stupids is far from being a cohesive film, there is little harm done. What Landis has created is a film that works well as many stand alone sketches, and only when placed back to back do they become less satisfying.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer The Stupids looks great and kudos go out to New Line for giving the film such an impressive look. The film boasts a bright color palette and it is represented nicely in this transfer. The bright yellows show no bleeding while the lighter colors still pop with vibrancy. There is a small amount of aliasing and edge enhancement to be found, but aside from these small flaws, this is a fine transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is very much relegated to the center speaker with the remaining channels garnering very little attention. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout with no distortion making for a very pleasant sound mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: The films theatrical trailer is offered in a full-frame aspect ratio.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

The Stupids is a mildly entertaining film that is not deserving of the criticism that has been showered upon it. True, it is far from being a competently made motion picture, but there is such an energy in it that it is hard to deny the joyfulness it brings.


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