The term "sophomoric" seems to sophisticated to describe the level of humor in the science-fiction spoof "Galaxina." The tone is set, inescapably, by the introductory voice-over narration in which Avery Schreiber identifies himself as "Captain Cornelous Butt," heavy emphasis on the last name, the commander of an intergalactic prowl car, the Infinity, discovered on extended patrol in the year 3008.
This is the same Capt. Butt later encountered savoring a bottle of "Venusian Thunder Ripple" and commenting. "Ah, 2001, a great year!" Also the same Butt encountered tormenting a prisoner, a rock-eating little monster, by throwing rocks at it, provoking the outraged beastie to ask, "Is this how you get your rocks off?" In case customers missed this one, there's another punch line about getting your rocks off in the last reel. In fact, redundancy is one of the film's stylistic constants. Having staged a parody of the cantina sequence from "Star Wars" set in a freaky frontier brothel, the movie rehashes this episode in a freaky frontier saloon where the bill of fare includes taste treats like "glazed eyeballs" and "plasma cooler with lady fingers on the side" and "Eskimo pie" and "baked Alaskin."
At a distance, the Infinity, evidently conceived in facetious imitation of H.R. Giger's "organic" constructions for "Alien," resembles a fish skeleton. Unfortunately, it also presumes to sustain feature length on skeletal comic resources. William Sachs, a smugly inept writer-director, belabors situations and gimmicks abstracted from almost every handy science-fiction model. In addition to "Alien" and "Star Wars," Sachs litters the screen with bits and pieces filched iwth oafish playfulness from "Star Trek" and "Dark Star." Ironically, the funniest borrowing appears to be unintentional. The closing credits of "Galaxina" roll on and on and on, evoking the seemingly endless credits of "Superman." If this raggedy production really represents the wasted efforts of so many helping hands, Sachs may be more of a menace than meets the eye.
An understandably unheralded opener at area theaters last weekend, the motley "Galaxima" would tend to make many a grammar school humorist and amateur filmmaker feel that he must be ready for the big time. Nevertheless, sarcastic juvenile attendance is more or less discouraged by the minimal publicity and the unnecessary "R" rating, evidently provoked by scenes like the one where a crew member is brought his supper; uncovering two little red capsules, he exclaims, "Oh, s---! Chicken again!"
While going heavy on profane inanity, the movie does nothing to justify the "R" for fun-seeking adults by capitalizing on the alluring possibilities of the title character, a voluptuous robot embodied by Dorothy R. Stratten, a promising starlet whose career ended tragically a year ago when whe was murdered by her estranged husband. A statuesque platinum blond slinking about in a backless silver jump suit, Galaxina might have stepped out of a port movie set in a Swedish massage parlor. At the same time, she's wired to administer discouraging electric shocks to crew members who try to get a little familiar.
The potentially funny aspects of the crew's dependence and fixation upon Galaxina are undermined by limiting her to a single suitor, an officer played by Stephen Macht, and by revealing that she's easily capable of humanizing her own nature, once the infatuation proves mutual. Since the romantic problem is nonexistent, there's also no ground for romantic comedy.
Stratten had completed a featured role in the unreleased Peter Bogdanovich film, "They All Laughed." Her niche in movie history is now dependent on that credit, since "Galaxina" seems content to keep her under wraps. There's obviously an impressive physique encased in that inelegant jump suit, and when she finally gets a chance to speak in the last half of the film, Stratten also sounds attractive -- rather like a subdued echo of Marie Wilson as My Friend Irma. Nevertheless, "Galaxina" is too bumptious to showcase sex appeal effectively. Dorothy Statten remains the most conspicuose throwaway in a picture that mistakes facetiousness for cleverness.