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‘Spaced Invaders’ (G)

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 30, 1990

"Spaced Invaders" is a slight, obvious sci-fi parody that would like to be in the same league as "Spaceballs," but doesn't even deserve the comparison. Set in a small Illinois town on Halloween night, it pits human dolts against stupid little green Martians, with the action played out against a 50th-anniversary broadcast of the Orson Welles radio thriller "War of the Worlds."

This is basically a "Saturday Night Live" sketch stretched out to feature-film length, with stock genre characters and (at most) a half-dozen genre-specific punch lines, often delivered in familiar voices: the shade-wearing head Martian, for instance, has watched far too many Jack Nicholson movies.

The Martian crew is the gang that couldn't fly straight, landing on Earth with a pugilist's attitude but no comparable skills. Since it's Halloween, they're mistaken for trick-or-treaters (E.T. -- call your lawyer). Their bravado is dismissed as adolescent behavior, except by the few humans onto the ruse: the alien-bedecked daughter of the new (and recently widowed) town sheriff and a new tyke-pal trapped in the most awful duck costume this side of Howard the; an aging farmer about to lose his farm to a greedy real estate agent (the space ship crash-lands in the barn); and a bumbling deputy sheriff whose car should bear the number 54.

Since this is a thoroughly G movie, the action, dialogue and plot lack offense, but also lack substance. After a short while the visual fun of the mini-Martians diminishes and their constant yammering begins to wear. As for the John Q. Citizens, they're such trigger-happy gun toters that you'll wish the invaders had a little more "Alien" in them.

One of the "Spaced Invaders" running gags is the spaceship's inability to get off the ground. It's an apt metaphor for the film as well.

Copyright The Washington Post

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