Looking back at the 90’s, it amazes me when I realize how
many films starred Jeffrey Jones. Jones
has always been a favorite of mine, after seeing his memorable performances in Beetlejuice and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
He was by no means a traditional leading man (which is why he was
usually cast as the villain), but had impeccable comic timing and was very
unique in his delivery.
When I was a kid, one of the films that I used to watch
almost every day was Mom and Dad Save the World, an offbeat story about a man
who has to rescue his wife from getting married to a dastardly emperor, all the
while trying to save his kids and the rest of planet earth from being
destroyed. The story is obviously an
homage to the classic Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon stories, which makes its
shortcomings and failed attempts at humor all the more tolerable.
One aspect of Mom and Dad Save the World that I remember
most vividly involves the incredible practical make-up effects; the odd fish,
dog and human hybrids that populate the wacky world of Spengo. While the effects definitely reveal the
film’s less than stellar budget, they also show true imagination and fun, which
translates well to the viewer.
Another aspect of Mom and Dad Save the World that I
remember fondly is Jon Lovtiz’s performance as the evil Emperor Tod Spengo, a
character who makes Napoleon look like a saint.
By and large, I find Lovitz to be an annoying talent. I’m aware that the majority of characters he
portrays are meant to be irritating (at least, I hope that’s how they’re meant
to be perceived), but I just can’t find anything interesting in his abilities
as an actor to keep my attention focused on him. In Mom and Dad Save the World, however,
Lovitz brings to life one of the most peculiar characters that I’ve ever seen;
a character that questions whether or not he should go out in public with
mutton chops or a goatee (a question I ask myself quite often, actually).
In any case, if you ever come across Mom and Dad Save the
World I highly suggest that you give it a spin. It isn’t anything special, nor is it a film
that you will remember after the credits roll, but it is something that
captures the unique sensibilities of 90’s cinema; an era that may have seemed
unbearable at the time, but in retrospect, was actually quite enjoyable,
lighthearted and fun. Besides, if you’re
only familiar with Jeffrey Jones through his portrayal of Edward Rooney then
you owe it to yourself to see him in this rare romantic lead performance.