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For, Friday, March 26, 2021


EDITOR’S NOTE: You know that cliche about how comic actors always yearn to do drama and earn acting respect? Back in the day, one of the biggest action stars in the world, Sylvester Stallone, yearned to be a comedian. Or so it seemed. This is arguably his worst attempt, but, as we always say, it must have a fan base since it’s getting a Blu-ray upgrade, courtesy of Mill Creek Entertainment’s ‘Retro VHS’ line. This review was published in the Deseret News on Feb. 21, 1992.


If your idea of fun is seeing Sylvester Stallone in a diaper, his latest film should send you into fits of ecstasy. The rest of the audience, however, may be looking around for a quick exit well before that dream sequence rolls around.


The awkwardly titled "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" is Stallone's latest attempt at comedy, after his "Rhinestone" and "Oscar" flops. Maybe we should have Hollywood pass a law that he isn't to be allowed anywhere near an allegedly comic script.


It's an obvious effort, of course, to follow Arnold Schwarzenegger's success in "Twins" and "Kindergarten Cop" and to widen his audience. After all, if that muscly guy can do comedy, why can't Stallone? (There's even a nod to Schwarzenegger when Stallone chides his mother for saying, "I'll be back.”)




Sylvester Stallone, Jobeth Williams, 'Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot' (1992)


Actually, "Oscar" had the right idea, playing Stallone as straight man and surrounding him with comic characters; it just wasn't executed very well. But "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" has him rolling his eyes, fuming in exasperation and screaming at the top of his lungs, all to little comic effect.


But it's not all his fault. Stallone can be quite charming, and when you consider how good his co-stars, Estelle Getty and JoBeth Williams, have been elsewhere, it's clear the script and direction fail them here.


The story has Stallone as a bachelor cop in Los Angeles. He's reckless, he's chauvinistic, he can't express his feelings — but he's happy. Or so he thinks. When his smothering mother (Getty) leaves her New Jersey home for a visit, however, she immediately sets about trying to improve his life.


That includes trying to patch up Stallone's rocky romance with his boss, the department lieutenant (Williams). She wants tenderness and flowers, he just wants to go out with the guys for a few drinks.




If that's not enough, the film is loaded with shootouts and car chases, courtesy of a plot element that has Mom witnessing a murder. Soon she's following her boy around town as he encounters bad guys.


But any suspense, like the humor, is muted by the film's overall flatness and the over-the-top histrionics of every scene. And that includes Alan Silvestri's music.


And if, in the end, anyone doubts the desperation of this material, there's a climactic moment with Getty shooting someone and uttering a profanity. A little old lady firing a gun and swearing. Wow! What original comedy material!


"Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" is rated PG-13 for considerable violence and mayhem, some profanity and a few vulgarisms, and a scene that has Stallone in the shower, revealing his backside.