In 'Stop!' Stallone and Getty never get started

February 21, 1992|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Film Critic

Stop! Or my mom will throw up.

Now, my mom likes movies, don't get me wrong, but I don't think she would like "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot." In this one, Sylvester Stallone's movie mom, Estelle Getty, who is already a TV mom (of Bea Arthur), gets to blow a scumbag away with a .44 Magnum, talk tough, drive a car real fast, and supervise her movie-son's affair with a superior officer, who, I hasten to add, is a woman.

I don't think mom would believe a bit of it. And, I don't think she'd laugh at all! I think what she would do -- and, darn it, I know my mom pretty well -- is fire up a Chesterfield, throw down a slug of vodka from her flask, and growl in her best mom-like way, "Let's get the hell out of here. This one's dumber than pet rocks."

And my mom would be right!

Mom has always said, "If it isn't funny, and it isn't exciting and it takes place in Southern California, why watch it?" Mom has a "thing" about Southern California, particularly when the movies set there are so generic and colorless that they make it seem like the land of Tupperwear and Jell-O deserts.

My mom would certainly also object to the characterizations in the movie. Nobody involved in the production has put much imagination into conceiving them. Stallone is, as usual in his "comic" turns, a big, lovable lunk. He can't "express" himself. But darn, he sure can shoot.

His mom is "Your Typical Mom," and as my mom would say, "There's no such thing as 'a typical mom.' " His mom is loving, brusque, nosy, nourishing, abrasive and she wants him to brush after every meal and not stay up to late. He's about 38, by the way.

About the plot, my mom would say, "Mark Twain once said, 'All those looking for plot will be shot!' In 'Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot,' all those responsible for plot should be shot!' " I think what mom meant was that it's a pretty stupid plot, and the part about Stallone carrying on an affair with his Lieutenant (JoBeth Williams, once an actress) to the degree that they -- ick -- French kiss in front of the rest of the squad is pretty sickening. Moms don't like French kisses, that's a basic rule of life!

And one more thing: does this mean that Sylvester Stallone and Beatrice Arthur are brother and sister? Stop, or my mom will scream!

'Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot'

Starring Sylvester Stallone and Estelle Getty.

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode.

Released by Universal.

Rated PG-13.

**

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