The directorial track record of John Landis has been, to say the least, chequered, with his early hall of fame classics (Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf In London) giving way in recent years to best forgotten misfires (Oscar, Beverly Hills Cop III). With his latest comic endeavour he plumbs new depths of inanity. For The Stupids, based on a series of children's books, fails on just about every conceivable level, not least in its basic premise - its titular family are really stupid. And irritating to boot.
Tom Arnold is well cast as the head of the family, a group that takes everything at face value. Take, for example, garbage day (which ol' Pa Stupid thinks is "garbage appreciation day"). Unable to comprehend why his weekly supply of rubbish goes missing, the patriarch takes a trip to the city dump, where he discovers vast amounts of rubbish swag, stumbles upon an illegal arms deal, and has to use what few brain cells he has to expose the conspiracy. And that, really, is all there is to it.
While this may be aimed squarely at the kiddie market, the makers seem to have overlooked one vital point - children are a lot smarter than this. With irritatingly flat characters, and wasted guest appearances from the likes of Christopher Lee - the end result is woefully uninspiring, lacking at its core any sense of its own logic, and with an inane plot bolstered by increasingly pointless twists and turns. This is a comedy disaster zone that serves only to knock another nail in the Landis career coffin.