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The Cohenheads advertising poster was intended to bring film-fans flocking to cinemas. Unfortunately, it didn't work and the film only enjoyed commercial success when reduced in price to $1 and sold in the 'pre-watched' section of video stores.
|Directed by||Steve "Shitty" Barron|
|Produced by||Lorne "Loser" Michaels|
|Written by||Some six year old at a 'special educational establishment'|
|Starring||Dan Ackroyd, some woman, a girl and a fat kid.|
|Music by||Tommy Notalent|
|Cinematography||anyone so desperate for cash as to be willing to be associated with the film|
|Editing by||A. N. Amateur|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney|
|Running time||88 minutes of pain|
|Budget||doubtless enough to provided clean drinking water to every African child|
After the huge box office success of Wayne's World, producer Lorne Michaels reused the concept of creating a film based on Saturday Night Live short sketches with 1993's Cohenheads, starring Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtin as Bellend and Primark Cohenhead, aliens who have become stranded on Earth.
Alien couple Bellend and Primark are the vanguard of an army from the mysterious planet Miserablia 1 who are scouting Earth prior to a planned invasion. However, their spacecraft is attacked by some United States Airforce jets causing it to crash in the East River near the Statue of Liberty. They are able to swim to the New Jersey shore and make their way to a motel where they use components from the worn-out, semi-functioning 1950s black and white television set in their room (this is a motel remember) to build a radio device which allows them to contact their home planet. However, they are given the news that no rescue mission will be able to reach Earth for 18 months, and so the couple will be forced to 'go native,' living incognito amongst humans. Since the aliens very obviously differ from human beings, this leads to
many some very few funny situations. Actually, to be honest, there's no funny situations or decent gags anywhere in the film at all - don't even bother watching it if someone gives you a copy for free.
The Cohenheads have bodies identical to those of human beings and are of equal size to the average American adult (though slightly slimmer than most). Their behaviour, though in some ways an exaggerated mimicry of human behaviour for humourous content, also matches those of modern Americans. However, they have one difference that is highly noticeable to anyone watching the film yet which, incredibly, is never commented upon by friends and neighbours even though they're the type of people who would immediately phone the police should they observe a black man running through the neighbourhood, never mind if they were to see something as weird as a Cohenhead - they both have heads shaped like Leonard Cohen. Charles Cohen of Cohen Brothers Realty sued for trademark infringement as he stated "he is the one and only CohenHead" and "I am the Master of the Universe and all shall quake at my feet"
Although Steve Barron, the film's director, along with producer Lorne Michaels, claimed that they had intended the film to be no more than innocent, goofy fun, it is a thinly-veiled allegorical representation of events and situations experienced by immigrants in the USA and can be summed up as an hour and a half of insipid, blatant attempts to score political correctness points. Bellend has great skill in repairing technical objects, and as such rapidly builds a successful career as a repairman. Before long, the couple have earned sufficient money to enable them to move from a basement apartment to a large suburban house and have fully assimilated with their neighbours; demonstrating that any immigrant to the USA, regardless of appearance, can earn money and make a pleasant life for themselves just so long as they're willing to work hard and
abandon the time-honoured customs of their ancestors and people assimilate with mainstream American culture.
In a graphic depiction of alien sex, Bellend and Primark throw hoops over one another's strangely-shaped heads. This is obviously the cause of great carnal joy and pleasure to them, and has gone on to be considered one of the most erotic moments in cinema history by many followers of the worst sorts of science fiction. This leads to Primark's pregnancy and before long she gives birth to a daughter, Connie.
Whether the Cohenhead species progresses from birth to adolescence far quicker than is common amongst humans or if the plot and editing of the movie are a little patchy is never made clear. Either way, with no explanation, Connie is suddenly a teenage girl, at which point she attracts the attentions of Ronnie, a fat kid who is so ugly he'd be happy to make do with whatever he can get even if she does have a head shaped like a depressing Jewish Canadian singer.
Recall to Miserablia 1
US Government forces observed the crash when the Cohenheads arrived on Earth and are aware that the aliens are living somewhere in the nation. The government's top alien-catching expert, Agent Smith, is busy making a state visit to the island of Tonga in his capacity as Prince of Bel-Air, so the task of capturing them is allocated to the Immigration and Naturalization Service who are led by a shady character known as Seedling. The INS are within moments of catching up with the Cohenheads, but just in the nick of time a Miserablian spacecraft swoops down and carries them back to their home planet. Absolutely nothing except for some flashy (and doubtless very expensive) special effects happens for a while, leading some critics to theorise that money saved from the film's overall budget by recycling ancient and already unfunny jokes needed to be used up, leading to this sequence's insertion into the movie. Once returned to home, Bellend is summoned by his masters and told that he must return to Earth and destroy the planet. The couple have, however, decided that they really like Earth, especially America as the country gave them the opportunity to make something of themselves, even though they started off with nothing. As a result, upon their return to Earth, they set about foiling Miserablia 1's further attempts at invasion and destruction and the God-blessed US of A gives itself a great big pat on the back for being such a fine example to everyone else.
One recurring theme throughout the film is the vast quantities of food and drink that the Cohenheads consume - in one scene, Bellend opens and drinks an entire six-pack of beer within a few moments. Critics have noted that his ability to do so probably stems not from his alien anatomy, but from the notoriously weak alcohol and flavour content of American beers. They are also seen to consume vast quantities of food, which may be the reason for Ronnie's attraction to Connie, ie; when eating together, the amount she eats will likely take attention away from the several hamburgers and pizzas he must eat every day in order to maintain his spectacular corpulence. The fact that jokes of this type account for approximately 90% of the movie's visual gags may account for its limited success in Texas, where the consumption of upwards of 50lb of food per day is not considered unusual. It may also be the reason for the film's limited success elsewhere, since it's a pretty poor joke anyway.
The end of the tale remains unknown. It is not clear whether the Earth is eventually destroyed, whether the Cohenheads remain in America or whether Connie and Ronnie get married because nobody has ever managed to endure the movie beyound the halfway point - most viewers give up and watch something else within the first ten minutes. The record, set by Cornelius Hudchad III of Missouri, stands at 49 minutes. Doctors warn against attempts to beat this achievement, pointing out that Mr. Hudchad suffered serious mental distress and still has an acute phobia of video tapes, despite practicing for the record attempt by watching Waterworld, Alien vs. Predator and The Blair Witch Project daily for two years in an effort to innoculate himself to the effects of truly dire films.