Kentucky Fried Movie, produced by Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker and David Zucker- the creative forces behind Airplane! Top Secret and The Naked Gun; and directed by John Landis, who later directed the modern classics Animal House and Trading Places, is a film comprised of a number of short sketches, and a smaller film within the film called "Fistful of Yen."
The sketches run the entire range from hilarious to not very funny and show a more adult sense of humor than that demonstrated in later films such as Airplane. The sketches are often totally unrelated to each other and cover a diverse range of subjects from the dangers of using a racial epithet to an in-depth examination of a world without zinc-oxide. For those looking for a humorous film filled with social commentary, however, this isn't it. A couple of the sketches are in exceedingly bad taste, as admitted by the filmmakers in their commentary and worse than that, aren't funny. In particular, the advocacy for the dead sketch is really a waste of time and detracts from the film.
The film does contain a number of highlights however. The film's best sketch is the longer "Fistful of Yen" which involves a Bruce Lee-like protagonist who gets mixed up in an Enter the Dragon-like plot, with a good amount of slapstick comedy thrown in. The sketch is good for a number of laughs and even an homage to the Wizard of Oz. Fans of 70's decadence will also enjoy "Catholic School Girls In Trouble" a sketch without too many laughs, but with absolutely shameless use of partial nudity.
For a 1977 film, the film presentation is not too bad. The film is conveniently presented in both widescreen anamorphic and full screen presentation. While the picture is not exceedingly sharp, it generally looks good and there are no presentation problems which interfere with the enjoyment of the film.
Sadly, the sound is only available in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. While the sound did not require frequent adjustment during a viewing of the film, it is sad that a movie that is not too old would not be released with decent sound. While the film is mainly comedically driven and the sound is a lesser factor, it was still somewhat disappointing.
The definite highlight of this DVD is the commentary by the producers, Zucker, Zucker and Abrahams, Director John Landis, and Robert K. Weiss, or, as they refer to themselves, five jews sitting on a couch. They give a nice insight into the process of getting Kentucky Fried Movie made, the film's origins, and the gaffes and idiosyncratic elements to the movie, going so far as to point out a scene in which their mariachi music can be heard faintly in the background. The group members share a number of anectdotes, and listening to the commentary will definitely enhance one's enjoyment of the film. Also available on the DVD are limited talent files for the producers and director, the trailer, still photos from the filmiing of the movie, and a home movie shot by the film's producers to show their parents what they were doing with their time and money. While the home video wasn't as enjoyable as one might expect, the two provide a nice opportunity to see just how young these current movie moguls were when this film was made.
This film was made roughly 23 years ago. Some of the sketches have withstood the test of time and are still funny today. Others truly seem to be of another era, and seem to miss their intended mark. The film still offers a fun viewing experience, with a number of laughs throughout the duration of the film. It did not seem funny enough, however, to deserve a spot in one's permenant collection. While the film lacks the fast-paced hilarity for which many films of today seem to shoot, it is still an enjoyable, funny film and worth a rent.