ltopomcfly’s review published on Letterboxd:
By 1985, Robert Altman was directing a low budget film aimed at John Hughes' market, based on over-the-hill National Lampoon characters.
I know Cheech & Chong got a lot of their improv-heavy, plotless, master shot style from Altman & this is like Altman trying to do Cheech & Chong doing himself. Its really glossy, grating but ambitious.
The plot concerns 2 teen boys terrorizing a nuclear family endlessly because they're rich, racist, social climbers. Kinda bothered that their named "The Schwabs". Its essentially 2 preppy bros attacking a nerdy Jewish family for 2 hours without any real intelligence or subtlety. While toned down, its obvious what the film is doing by casting Jon Cryer as the Jerry Lewis-style son. Wouldn't be as shitty if O.C. and Stiggs were likable, liberal Jews like Wyatt in WEIRD SCIENCE or Chevy in his movies.
80s middle class Jews are no worse than any other petit bourgeoisie. They're preferable because they had immigrant & minority empathy. Something like BACK TO THE FUTURE or JAWS displays the negative stigma Jews have comes from their exploitation by their upper class, which in turn is directed & controlled by capitalist dynasties older than them - the inheritors of royalty, feudalism & aristocracy - the European Nobility.
I guess the object Altman & the Lampoon are after is playful criticism of rightwing Jews by leftwing Jews while deconstructing the 1950s antisemetic sentiment in America post-WW2. America got this false pride in "winning" WW2 even though the USSR defeated Germany. America had saved millions of Jews from ethnic cleansing but didn't want to enter the war or be drafted so soon after WW1. So American Jews took the brunt of resentment to Rothschilds & Israel. Then U.S. Jews had to prove their American loyalty once given dual citizenship, which only created bad blood between religious Jews with American goyim & religious Jews with secular Jews.
Does something like "O.C. and Stiggs" let Zionists feel vindicated by stroking public anger at them? Its the same with how liberals and conservatives treat each other every post-election. Or is this film a how-to re-education for Jews to simply assimilate to American ideals & not an ancient outdated religious state based on racism? But the USA is based in Freemasonry, a whiter version of the same elitism? Is it fair to ask Jews to give up their Israeli citizenship if they live in another country that is rivaling in economic power? This film definitely takes an American stance on the issue. Is corporate nationalism worse than global capitalism? I think not.
The film is way more artful than expected and its a very strange example of the 1980s teen/buddy comedy. And I like the un-P.C. political humor of Lampoon, but this is on the meaner, dumber side. The script doesn't lay out the serious satire of its comedy and the comedy ain't too good to begin with. Yet there's something about a coked out deconstruction of "Dennis the Menace"'s Reaganism that is a brilliant premise for a bunch of shitty SNL skits.