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STOP! OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT
Date of publication: 02/21/1992
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By Roger Ebert
- `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.
It is moronic beyond comprehension, an exercise in desperation during
which even Sylvester Stallone, a repository of self-confidence, seems
to be disheartened.
- The film stars 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.
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.
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.
- 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 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
helpfully washes his service revolver in detergent. And one where she
steps into the middle of a shootout and is the only witness to the
- There isn't a laugh in this movie. 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.
- The domineering mother is not one of my favorite comic
characters anyway, but "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 personalities and comic characters are two stick
figures, plugged into a series of unfunny, unoriginal situations that
seem taken right off the shelf.
- 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. The ledge
scene in "Stop!" is the most unwound, phoned-in, contrived version of
tion I have ever seen. There is no spark at all.
- Scrutinizing the credits for the movie, I find that it runs
only 87 minutes despite having three writers and three producers.
Such statistics are hints of desperation. Stallone is a capable comic
actor (see his underrated "Oscar"), and Estelle Getty of course can
be funny and charming. Here they seem trapped in every actor's
nightmare, a movie that was filmed before it was written.
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot 1/2 (STAR)
Joe Bomowski Sylvester Stallone
Tutti Estelle Getty
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode. Running time: 87 minutes. Classified
PG-13. Opening today at local theaters.