Friday, April 30, 2021

Amanda and the Alien

Amanda and the Alien
Jon Kroll

After leaving its mate behind and stealing the form of a woman named, Connie Flores (Alex Meneses). Amanda (Nicole Eggert) notices this non-Connie acting strangely in a coffee shop and immediately grasps that she is  an alien.  As the alien continues to eat and become people, Amanda ends up falling in love with it. Now she must make sure the alien makes it to its rendezvous point before government agents track it down and kill it.

Amanda and the Alien is basically the film Starman (1984) except with more sex scenes and an alien love interest that regularly murders people and assumes their identities. The story is wrapped up in a lot of silly lowbrow comedy and it rarely allows for the time or thought to dwell on the larger aspects of what's happening. Despite its shallowness, Amanda and  the Alien does manage some rather progressive views, especially by 1995 standards.

"So, what are you wearing?" "You really don't want to know."

There are a couple of elements that make Amanda and the Alien worth checking out. I do enjoy the way that Amanda immediately figures out that the odd person in the coffee shop is an alien in disguise and it never phases her. After some initial awkwardness with showing this visitor how to take a shower, she never treats the alien very differently in its various forms. There’s a little gay panic subtext later in the film, almost inescapable in this era but it is an ugly mark on an otherwise decent film.

Secondly, while most of the humor falls flat there are some very odd jokes in the form of line deliveries that work well. Michael Dorn and Stacy Keech are obviously slumming it here but also appear to be having a lot of fun engaging in all the featherweight nonsense. Dorn in particular is fantastic as a single-minded agent who’s very odd around the edges. Many of the smaller jokes work quite well and keep the staid plot from killing the momentum. These range from an unusually good cup of coffee to a freaking Shakespeare joke. 

"It's our economy sized starship."

This is a low budget made for Showtime film, so the effects are appropriately cheap. The practical alien and tentacle effects look decent even today, but that bane of the 1990s, morphing, looked terrible then and does so now. Thankfully, this isn’t a special effects heavy film so most of it can be overlooked.

There is a darker undertone in this film that is only touched on but if it could have been explored it would have made for more interesting finished product. For starters, the alien is killing people to eat them and assume their form. The film takes a little time to paint these victims as jerks so that you don’t need to feel bad about them dying, but the fact is that this being kills and eats people to survive. The murky morality of it all is interesting and exploring how Amanda’s detachment from people allows her to still be in love with this being would open whole avenues of narrative.

Amanda and the Alien is a serviceable sex comedy that has a few touches that make it interesting. Give it a go if for nothing else than to see Michael Dorn do some fun comedic acting. 

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