(director: Richard Benjamin; screenwriters: Jonathan Reynolds/Timothy Harris/Herschel Weingrod; cinematographer: Richard Kline; editor: Jacqueline Cambas; music: Alan Silvestri; cast: Dan Aykroyd (Dr Steve Mills), Kim Basinger (Celeste), Alyson Hannigan (Jessie Mills), Jon Lovitz (Ron Mills), Joseph Maher (Dr Lucas Budlong), Ann Prentiss (Voice of the Bag); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Franklin Levy/Ronald Parker; 20th Century-Fox; 1988)

A clunky high concept sci-fi-comedy that’s not funny nor is the story good.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A clunky high concept sci-fi-comedy that’s not funny nor is the story good. It’s not only a bad film, but a very bad one. Flatly directed by Richard Benjamin (“Tourist Trap”/”The Pentagon Wars”) and dumbly written by Jonathan Reynolds,

Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod. Eccentric, socially awkward, widower astronomer Dr. Steve Mills (Dan Aykroyd), has found the perfect night to send a signal from his lab to a far off galaxy, but a sudden thunder storm short-circuits the lab and causes the beam to travel faster than the speed of light to zap a planet in another galaxy where there’s extraterrestrial life. The sexy alien Celeste (Kim Basinger) saucers to Earth on orders from her superiors, who are worried the scientist will destroy their superior planet through zapping it. Celeste is here to do scientific research on humans and woo Dr. Mills, who has a teenage daughter (Alyson Hannigan). She also must get Mills to send the beam again so her planet so it won’t be destroyed. The low-brow comedy, which seems to go on forever, has its humor built around Celeste’s failure to know Earth’s customs and it’s supposedly amusing how she manages to learn them on the run by talking to a purse (Ann Prentiss, voice of the purse) who gives her possible answers. Somehow clips of Jimmy Durante are introduced into the tedious story, which makes as little sense as anything else in this space bomb. We are led to believe in the end Celeste falls madly in love with Mills and really digs the superficial American pop culture, enough to remain on Earth with her man after saving her planet. Yikes!

If the film wasn’t bad enough, Basinger and Aykroyd have no chemistry together, and it was embarrassing to watch them work so hard and not even get a laugh for all their effort. But the worst offender for bad comedy was Jon Lovitz, who over-played his role as Aykroyd’s smarmy a-hole sexually frustrated wealthy brother.

Dan Aykroyd, Kim Basinger, and Alyson Hannigan in My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988)