Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot

Happy Mother’s Day from Netflix, thanks to whom mums around the world can spend today with a nice glass of antifreeze watching a Mother’s Day classic. Not Psycho. Or The Babadook. Something much, much weirder.

A senile relic and his mother.

The story of a cop (Sylvester Stallone) whose visiting mother (Estelle Getty) insists on interfering with his cases and love life, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot sees Stallone hoping to dig into Twins‘ comic goldmine of having a small person stand next to a much taller person. So predictable was Sly that Arnold Schwarzenegger actually feigned interest in starring to dupe him into taking the part. He got to work with one of the Golden Girls though so who’s laughing now?

A barking brute and his dog.

We are, occasionally. In the grand cinematic tradition of family members showing up at inopportune moments (Jack and Jill, Oldboy), the dumb premise yields intermittent laughter and one of Stallone’s better performances owing to his highly convincing sense of embarrassment. All his dialogue comes out as one long moo of protest, as Getty marches around talking loudly about people’s privates. These similarities to Sly’s own mother (the late “rumpologist” Jackie Stallone) must have made it something of a busman’s holiday.

He considers this 1992 buddy-cop comedy “one of the worst films in the entire solar system,” even though it’s way better than most of his output and ironically, most of Arnie’s too. His character even has a modicum of growth, more so than Judge Dredd, Demolition Man and all the Rambos combined. For all its silliness, Roger Spottiswoode’s (The 6th Day) direction and Alan Silvestri’s score help make the movie stand up to a third viewing. It’s been a hard year ok?

Like Snakes on a Plane, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot may be unfairly maligned due to its preposterous title. Both understand their audience and tone, which is more than can be said for Over The Top. This might have as its dramatic climax a mother-son airport reunion, but it beats an arm-wrestling competition to determine whether Stallone gets custody of his son. Maybe that’s like saying flatulence is preferable to haemorrhoids, but you don’t have to be Jackie Stallone to see the funny side.

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