In his weird 1988 debut Heathers, Lehmann gave a bizarre twist to the usual portrayal of US teen life. In this pic he takes an even more extreme approach to sending up American family life. In a bid to save the Brazilian rain forest from development, a family of giant beetles is sent to infiltrate American society and blow up a nuclear power station as a warning.
Chameleon-like, they assume the form of humans, and, learning from a Fun with Dick and Jane reader, become the average America family. Surrounded by temptations in a community-minded town in Ohio, the family soon degenerates, with Dick (Ed Begley Jr) having an affair, Jane (Stockard Channing) becoming obsessed with credit and alcohol, Johnny (Bobby Jacoby) turning into a dope dealer and Sally (Cami Cooper) becoming pregnant.
Such a wacky premise could derail easily, but Lehmann handles it with humor and paces it well. Begley and company play it for all it’s worth, and seem to be having a ball. Scenes of the Applegates becoming bugs (usually with disastrous consequences) are cleverly done.