Home / Year / 1993 / Coneheads
"Coneheads" Will Extract Pleasurable Tones From Blunt Skulls
"Coneheads" is yet another film based on a recurring Saturday Night
Live sketch. At the time of its release, it was the third SNL-based
movie created following "The Blues Brothers" (1980) and "Wayne's World"
(1992). While not as funny as the aforementioned films, it is only a
notch below them. Worse SNL movies were to come (i.e. "It's Pat: The
Movie" (1994), "A Night At The Roxbury" (1999)), but "Coneheads" stands
today as a very funny mix of comedy and science fiction.
The early Saturday Night Live sketches vaguely explained how the
Coneheads came to Earth. Most of its humor came from the fact that the
humans, or "blunt skulls", never suspected the Coneheads to be aliens
from another planet, despite the oh-so obviously large foreheads. The
fact that their last names are "Conehead" never seems to counter
Earthlings' obliviousness, either. This movie takes some of its humor
from the humans' obvious lack of observational skills, but it's really
Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtan's consistent disappearance into these
character that really makes the movie funny. They talk in monotone
voices and spew out complicated alien jargon without missing a beat,
and they use the film's special effects to their advantage.
I also liked how, because the last Coneheads sketch was 14 years prior
to this movie's release, the movie started from the beginning,
explaining how Beldar (Aykroyd) and Prymatt (Curtan) landed on Earth in
modern-day America, and worked their way from a hotel room to the
projects to the suburbs. While I missed Laraine Newman as Connie
(although Newman does make an appearance as Laarta, another Conehead in
a later scene), it made perfect sense to have a younger, teenage Connie
(Michelle Burke) with an American accent. Although the subplot where
she begins dating 29-year-old mechanic Ronnie (Chris Farley) still
seems creepy to me, considering her character was supposed to be 15 or
16, I thought Burke added a really nice touch to what could have been a
Dan Aykroyd impersonation.
The main conflict of the film served as an interesting analogy to
illegal immigration, but had some definite plot holes. You find out in
the film that Beldar and Prymatt land on Earth accidentally, and stay
not because they want to, but because a rescue ship will take seven
Zerl's to reach them. According to a site I found using Google
(www.tvacres.com/languages_scifi_conehead.htm), one Zerl is equal to
approximately 2.17 Earth years, thereby making their stay just over 15
years. Based on that fact, a giant plot hole emerges when INS agents
and antagonists Gorman Seedling (Michael McKean) and Eli Turnbull
(David Spade) don't age at all over that time period.
Also, near the end, the rescue ship finally comes for the Coneheads,
and it seems to take about a day to travel back to Remulak, their
native planet. Although I thought the home planet in this movie was
among the coolest parts, I still could not get over that plot hole. Why
it took over a decade and a half to bring a ship over, yet it didn't
take that long to go from Earth to Remulak and back, is never
explained, and weakens the story a bit.
However, other parts in the film otherwise made me laugh. The best
parts were when the Coneheads interacted with humans in the outside
world. Also, perhaps better than any other SNL movie to date, having
numerous former and (then) current Not Ready For Primetime Players in
various roles large and small served as a great tribute to "Saturday
Night Live". There were also a few cameos from then-unknown stand-up
comedians who would go on to be big stars (Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Carey,
"The Blues Brothers", "Wayne's World", and "Wayne's World 2" (1993)
were hard movies to top, but "Coneheads", while not great, is pretty
funny, and miles away from the notoriously bad SNL movies that were to
come. It suffered mostly from its story line, but otherwise used
special effects wisely to effectively elicit laughs. It's a good movie
to watch after you have consumed mass quantities and want to get a good
laugh while you digest.
A Fine Comedy Born Out Of SNL
There's absolutely nothing – not a single thing – in this movie that
can be taken seriously, which is probably why it's so enjoyable for the
most part to watch. Based on a skit from Saturday Night Live (when SNL
was really in its heyday) this is a fun look at the lives of the
Coneheads – Beldar and Prymatt and their daughter Connie, a family of
pointy headed aliens who get stuck on earth and have to blend in among
the "bluntskulls," claiming to be from France (which no one ever
questions) and enjoying such earth delicacies as "charred mammal flesh"
and "flattened chicken embryos." Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin (as Beldar
and Prymatt) demonstrate remarkable talent just in being able to get
through this with relatively straight faces. Michelle Burke as the
Conehead daughter Connie had a less demanding role – Connie having been
born on earth had fewer adjustment issues to deal with. The part of the
story dealing with the Coneheads being pursued by a couple of
over-enthusiastic immigration agents (played by David Spade and Michael
McKean) was perhaps an unnecessary addition to the story, and somehow
the story seemed to lose its footing a bit once the Coneheads returned
to their home planet of Remulak. In what was so obviously intended to
be a silly movie, much of the Remulak storyline came across as too
silly. Simply watching the Coneheads attempting to blend in to human
society would have been sufficiently enjoyable.
The movie has a surprisingly low rating here, suggesting to me that
many people are perhaps treating it too seriously. It's a silly movie
that's clearly intending to be a silly movie. To over-analyze it and
look for weaknesses is to do it an injustice. Accept it for what it is
and it will provide an overall very enjoyable 90 minutes.
One of the best comedic Sci-Fi movies around
It isn't serious at all. What the writers, actors, and director did was
take a repeating skit on SNL and expand it.
In the process they made these rather odd alien characters familiar,
flawed (and therefore human), and endearing. This is no small feat.
They are odd in the extreme eating toilet paper, light bulbs, and
talking in jargon laced monotone.
But in doing that they also made life on earth and the simple pleasures
we all enjoy, something to be appreciated…from an outsider's point of
I think another thing that makes the movie a joy to watch is the high
production values. It's a comedy about a richly detailed alien culture
with first-rate sets, interesting devices, crazy and funny characters
(most of the humans are deeply flawed) and some of the best stop-motion
animation ever filmed. The Nafle the Garthog scene would have deeply
impressed Ray Harryhausen.
Continuity was high, the acting quite good (comedy is said to be the
hardest thing to do), sets and scenery nicely done and the story itself
with a nice easy to follow story arc and a (gasp) happy ending. What
else would anyone want in the way of light entertainment?
I Love This Movie!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This one is such a classic. I don't know why so many people hate it. I
found it very funny all the way through.
What surprised me when viewing it after haven't seeing it for over 10
years is that most of the SNL cast is in this movie. I found them to be
The movie revolves around a couple of aliens who get left on Earth and
they can't leave Earth for a long period of time so the alien couple
try to adapt on Earth by starting a family and living among the people
of Earth. The movie is called Coneheads because of the top of their
head is shaped like a cone.
The movie is very funny. I would recommend everybody see this. I was
pleasantly surprised to find it just as funny as I did 10 years ago.
Don't worry, Dan Aykroyd and the rest of the SNL cast won't disappoint
you. Pick it up for some good laughs.
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