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Don't Ask Don't Tell /

Not Rated

Starring: Lloyd Floyd, Rosa Rugosa, Peter Graves, Mike McCurry, Erik Frandson

Directed by: Doug Miles
Written by:
Tex Hauser
Distributor: Refried Flicks


     Every filmmaker has thought about doing it at sometime in their careeródubbing over an old movie to create an entirely new oneóand it has finally been acted upon. Deeming itself to be the first ďRefried FlickĒ, Donít Ask Donít Tell takes a picture that was already terrible, W. Lee Wilderís Killers From Space, and turns it into some sort of farcical exploration of homophobia. In the original film, a man is killed in a plane crash, but aliens revive him to conduct tests on the earth. In this update, new scenes are merged with old ones that are dubbed over by the cast, and the story is warped. Instead of simply resurrecting the pilot, the aliens turn him into a homosexual, and better yet, force him to lead a plan alter the sexual preference of everyone on the planet. SoundsÖFabulous!

     Oh, who am I kidding? When the promotional notices for a micro-budget production warn you that itís supposed to be stupid, ninety-five percent of the time, the experience will ream to be an excruciating one. This is another stereotypical movie that claims to be pro-gay-rights, but doesnít have a clue about real social dynamics. Why is this even an issue to its performance? Because in order to create true comedy, a writer must creatively institute intelligence in his satire, particularly in terms of one-liners (which this movie has a lot of). However, Tex Hauser, who penned the screenplay for Donít Ask, Donít Tell, relies on one joke to advance the entire movie. The concept is funny for about five minutes, but then becomes tiring, and even painful.

     In any movie, variety is always a key concept. Donít Ask Donít Tell keeps a steady pace of nothingness; all the scenes feel the same, tonally. There is no excitement to be found in its concept; the characters do not evolve throughout time, with the exception of our leading man, who becomes gayer by the second. All development here is obvious, force-fed to viewers as baby-food is to infants. When the plot finally reaches an unsurprising and unfulfilling conclusion, most viewers will have already discovered that watching the film thatís being poked fun at wouldíve been more satisfying. Unless youíre Łber-inspired (think Abrams and Zucker with Airplane!), remolding a preceding work that is bad, in both independent and third-party-financed filmmaking, is a useless cause.

     What baffles me the most about Donít Ask Donít Tell is why it was executed the way it was. How does the idea of dubbing over an old movie enhance it? My first inclination was that such a method would be cheaper, considering the fact that much of the footage was already shot. Rights issues and those concerning the duplication of sets for additional, new scenes mustíve ensued in its making, though. Both problems are rather costly ones; I now think re-shooting every bit of film would be cheaper. Logic, though, is hard to come by in Donít Ask Donít Tell, and apparently, in everyone and everything involved with it, in addition.

     In most cases, micro-budget films are thought-out to a further extent than typical Hollywood trash. Sadly, this is not the case with this picture; it is a genuinely dumb, incoherent piece of filmmaking, with no ambition or wit to be found in its contents. It embraces all great aspects of comedy, and offers a promising delivery. In all truth, though, itís almost impossible to deny that every part of Donít Ask Donít Tell fails, desperately. It may be entertaining for a little while, but once those watching it realize how tepid it really is, theyíll be yawning and frustrated for the rest of its duration. That is, if they end up sitting through the entire film.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (7.6.2004)

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