John Landis Richard Schickel - Essay

Richard Schickel

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Kentucky Fried Movie is a sort of National Lampoon that talks and moves. It offers a compilation of very broad show-business parodies aimed at sophomoric sensibilities (and those permanently arrested in those realms). The picture is indelicate, obvious, often less funny than it thinks it is, but lively and sufficiently on-target to reward casual attention.

Most of the film satirizes television commercials and movie trailers. Since such bits and pieces cannot, in the nature of things, exceed the length of the material being sent up, the misfires do not detain, and are quickly forgotten. Among those most likely to be remembered—at least for a day or two—are a beer commercial in which those seeking gusto from the suds are a group of Hare Krishna sect members coming in after a hard day's chanting and leaflet peddling, and an institutional plug from an oil company experimentally reclaiming oil from greasy containers cast off by fast-food restaurants.

There is also a public service message … informing the world of death's danger signals and advising what to do when the end arrives (don't attempt to operate heavy machinery). Finally there are previews of coming attractions, the products of the fevered imagination of a mythical movie producer, Samuel L. Bronkowitz, offering foretastes of epics like That's Armageddon.

Bronkowitz is also producer of record of the movie's longest,...

(The entire section is 419 words.)