Classic sketch comedy in movie form
Loves: Airplane!, Police Squad!, the early ZAZ work
Likes: Sketch comedy movies
Dislikes: the later films ZAZ inspired
Hates: David Zucker's later filmography
While Landis's later Amazon Women on the Moon would figure out a better concept for stringing together the sketches, The Kentucky Fried Movie offers up a selection of ads, trailers, news segments and more, wrapping around a "feature film," the kung-fu action parody A Fistful of Yen. There's a little bit of everything here, including T&A comedy, pun-loaded wordplay, sight gags, spoofs, one-joke segments and absurdist sketches.A lot of what powers the comedy would be considered politically incorrect today, and undoubtedly sophomoric, which probably explains why so few films have been made in this genre (and perhaps why the ZAZ' style of comedy has mostly fallen out of favor. (That, and the need to pay attention to enjoy their films, which has long been a problem for them.)
It would be no surprise if the majority of the film's male fanbase became devotees in their early teens, as the sense of humor sits firmly in that sweet spot, seen clearly in the ridiculous Zinc Oxide and You or the simple, yet hilarious household odors sketch, and the copious female nudity appeals to that demographic as well. The classic fake trailer for Catholic High School Girls in Trouble may be the most effective use of female breasts for comedic effect in movie history, the preview for Cleopatra Schwartz is funny and features a foxy blaxploitation heroine, and a sketch which pairs a hot and heavy hook-up with a TV news broadcast walks a fine line between sexy and goofy. Even when the film isn't flashing a pair of breasts at you, it's often simply being silly, with the "Courtroom" sketch piling on the wordplay gags at an incredibly rapid pace and with no shame at all (plus there's a bonus appearance by Airplane! scene-stealer Stephen Stucker (and a dildo too!)) Though there are a few sketches that rise above the somewhat low bar, particularly a dark ad for a board game built around the JFK assassination, there's nothing wrong with a comedy that just goes for laughs.
There's not much to the audio presentation on this DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, as can be expected when you're dealing with a low-budget, late-'70s comedy, but there are no noteable problems either, as the dialogue, sound effects and music are all clear and distortion-free, with the original mono mix doubled up here for a center-balanced delivery.
Carried over from the 2000 DVD release is a feature-length audio commentary with Landis, the Zuckers, Abrahams and producer Robert Weiss. This is a classic track, as ZAZ and Landis deliver just the kind of fun, yet informative commentary you hope for from a movie like this, discussing how scenes were shot, how the movie came together and who all the unknown actors are, with some very healthy doses of self-deprecation. If there was to be a retrospective book written about this movie, you'd hope it would be as good as this great oral history.
Fortunately, this isn't just a case of just porting (or not porting) extras, as Shout! Factory has come through with a 62-minute interview (apparently shot in 2010) with the two Zucker brothers, who respond to title-card questions by talking about the film and the rest of their careers with a light, enjoyable tone. There are some interesting topics covered, including a scene mentioned in the credits but missing from the film, and thankfully there's very little overlap with the commentary, as freed from a direct connection to the film, they can cover plenty of different topics, including their thoughts on the art of comedy, their sources of influence and even their less comedic work. A fine addition to the film for fans of two-thirds of the ZAZ.
Also included here (and on the previous DVD) is the film's trailer.
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