The only thing I’ve ever heard anyone say about Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is, “That movie is SO stupid.” For fifteen years I’ve taken this as a negative comment, only to find that people are stopping short in their synopsis. For some reason, they’re all too highbrow to complete the sentence: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is SO stupid that you’ll laugh until tears run down your cheeks. You will be RIVETED by its stupidity, and good luck if you start watching it on TV in the morning. You won’t be getting out of your pajamas ’til it’s over.
Yes, there was a time when even I thought I was above this movie, but that time has passed. My love for Sylvester Stallone knows no bounds, and only seems to grow when I find him trapped in a bad situation. This whole movie is bad, so again I felt compelled to take him under my wing. It started out okay, really, but after about 10 minutes, it had gone right down the toilet.
Sylvester stars as Detective Joe Bomowski, a savvy city cop whose Achilles heel is his mother… and relationships… and (apparently) keeping house. Before his mother even arrives for a visit, Joe’s life starts coming apart at the seams. His girlfriend (Jo Beth Williams) thinks he’s cheating on her after his phone rings busy all night, but the truth is that he was just trying to call his mom (Estelle Getty). It’s not his fault she wouldn’t pick up the phone! Then, realizing that his apartment will never stack up to Mom’s impossible standards, he shoves a melon rind under the couch, clears the countertop by dumping everything (including dishes, I swear) in the garbage and stomping on it, then stuffs a bunch of old pizza boxes in the hall closet. Dude, Joe? I hate to tell you, but that’s gonna smell, and if you can’t crack The Case of the Stinking Apartment, I’m thinking you’re not a very good detective.
Things only get worse once Joe’s mom arrives, and this is great news for us. Wait til you see why her suitcase is so heavy—it’s full of Dole canned pineapple from Jersey! She was worried she couldn’t get it in California, or that it wouldn’t be as good… or something. There’s very little logic lurking in Mom’s head, but that’s what makes this movie so awful… and funny. I guess you could say it’s awfully funny.
We watch as Mom tortures Joe by pulling out photo albums and telling embarrassing stories about his childhood. Poor Joe is mortified, but everyone else seems utterly charmed by this little dynamo. Soon she’s interfering at work, and Joe’s just about ready to tear his hair out. I can’t say I blame him. Estelle Getty is easily one of the most irritating old women ever captured on film. One minute she’s all senile and fragile, the next she’s conniving and feisty. What the hell? You know it’s all a mind game, and it’s pure evil. It was evil on The Golden Girls, and it’s evil here… but also weirdly amusing. Can you beat a little old lady scrubbing a handgun in the kitchen sink while singing, “this is the way we wash-our-gun, wash-our-gun, wash-our-gun” or pulling up alongside Joe as he chases a perp down the street and saying, “why’re you running when there’s a perfectly good car right here?” Her inflection is so strange that you never know whether she’s in on the joke or not.
But wait, I know what beats both of those things! It’s the scene where Joe’s partner finds him drinking Pepto-Bismol straight out of the bottle, looking like he doesn’t know whether to cry or throw up, and then describing the breakfast his mother made him: toast, oatmeal, eggs, coffee, pancakes, juice, bacon… Fruit Loops. This is what had me laughing until I cried, and what leads me to believe that I’m easily amused. If you think you might fall into this category, treat yourself with this so-bad-it’s-good classic.