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Film review: Coneheads

Published: Tuesday, July 27 1993 12:00 a.m. MDT

Hoping to consume mass quantities of American moviegoing dollars this summer, yet another "Saturday Night Live" skit has been turned into a big-screen movie — "Coneheads."

Skating along on a very thin premise . . . and they were pretty thin even for the TV skits . . . "Coneheads" begins with Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) and Prymaat (Jane Curtin) leaving their home planet, Remulak, to pave the way for an interstellar invasion of Earth — but instead find themselves stranded and decide to blend in.

Initially, they settle down in Jersey City, where Beldar gets work as an appliance repairman. But when he obtains a phony social security number, an INS agent (Michael McKean) tracks him down — and continues to dog him throughout the film.

The Coneheads move to New York City, where Beldar becomes a cabbie. And eventually he starts his own driving school and the couple settles in the suburbs, has a baby daughter, Connie (Michelle Burke), and becomes just another family in the neighborhood. Almost.

The biggest joke — which is just the opposite of the TV skits — is that no one seems to notice the huge dunce-cap noggins on this family. And instead of being unable to fit in, Connie excels as a teen in the local high school.

Actually, the suburban setting of the film's latter half does provide the best comic fodder. But in the end, the film itself is like the cinematic equivalent of a clothesline, with a steady stream of skits and gags hung out to dry. Unfortunately, some of them are so soggy they quickly sink without a chuckle.

Aykroyd and Curtin provoke chuckles with some of their over-explanatory descriptive terms and McKean's INS agent, along with "Saturday Night Live" regular David Spade, as his flunky assistant, are amusing.

And "Saturday Night Live" fans can play spot-the-star, as a number of current and former "SNL" players show up for cameos — Jon Lovitz, Garrett Morris, Jan Hooks, Julia Sweeney, Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, etc. Even Laraine Newman shows up briefly, albeit as Prymaat's sister (she was Connie in the TV skits).

It's a hit-and-miss affair but there are some agreeably silly moments.

"Coneheads" is rated PG for doubletalk double-entendres, some mildly vulgar dialogue, a single profanity and a brief locker room nude scene, revealing the unique backside of a Remulakian.