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Pterodactyl Woman from Beverly Hills

Barry Humphries' "Dame Edna" character turns up in a supermarket scene. All the actors (including Moon Zappa as Pixie's best friend) are defeated by the drab material, though as the Chandlers' bratty son, Aaron Eisenberg goes that extra mile to be even more obnoxious than his lines require.

With:
Pixie Chandler ... Beverly D'Angelo Dick Chandler ... Brad Wilson Salvador Dali/Sam ... Brion James Susie ...Moon Zappa Tommy Chandler ... Aaron Eisenberg Jenny Chandler ... Sharon Martin With: Bruce Critchley, Barry Humphries, Ruta Lee, Stephen McHattie, Philippe Mora, Ron Soble, Carmine Zozzora. Aclassic case of a title in search of a movie, "Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills" can't decide whether it wants to send up L.A. lifestyles or sci-fi conventions. Failing either, this talky, unfunny and very dull comedy flaps rapidly fossilizing wings in vain. Minor vid and cable prospects will presage extinction. Beverly D'Angelo plays upscale housewife Pixie Chandler, whose husband, Dick (Brad Wilson), is a paleontologist. When Dick angers "tribal magic man" Brion James while on a desert dig, the latter casts a long-distance spell on the researcher's spouse. Soon Pixie is eating live fish, waking up in trees and swinging between various mutational stages. Egg-bearing pregnancy, a Navajo-Irish shaman and government investigators figure in the story before the vaguely "environmentalist" happy ending. Pic is almost action-free, relying on mild scatology (Dick's name earns the expected limp puns) and gag lines so lame you can't believe they made the final cut. (Dixie exclaims, "I feel like I'm trapped! Trapped ... like a trap in a trap!"-- huh?) There's nary a laugh throughout, despite D'Angelo's game attempts at avian mannerisms and a few moments of deliberately cheesy, Dynamation-style dinosaur effects.

Barry Humphries’ “Dame Edna” character turns up in a supermarket scene. All the actors (including Moon Zappa as Pixie’s best friend) are defeated by the drab material, though as the Chandlers’ bratty son, Aaron Eisenberg goes that extra mile to be even more obnoxious than his lines require.

Documentarian-turned-B-pic vet Philippe Mora (“Communion,” “The Howling II/III”) barely attempts the kind of affluent-suburbia satire that buoyed “Meet the Applegates,” Coneheads skits and other aliens-among-us comedies. Nor does his direction offer a stylistic approach to elevate his witless screenplay. While tech aspects are adequate, the pace soon grows torpid.

Pterodactyl Woman from Beverly Hills

Production: A Ptero Pictures Inc. production. Produced by Philippe Mora, Bruce Critchley. Executive producers, John F. Remark, Jay Rifkin. Co-producer, Scott Billups. Directed, written by Philippe Mora.

Crew: Camera (color), Walter Bal; editor, Ross Guidici; music, Roy Hay; production design, Pamela Krause Mora; costumes, Reve Richards; special effects supervisor, Billups; associate producers, Beverly D'Angelo, Brion James; line producer, Karen Penhale. Reviewed at Camera One Cinema, San Francisco, Jan. 24, 1996. (In Cinequest, San Jose Film Festival, Calif.). Running time: 99 MIN.

With: Pixie Chandler ... Beverly D'Angelo Dick Chandler ... Brad Wilson Salvador Dali/Sam ... Brion James Susie ...Moon Zappa Tommy Chandler ... Aaron Eisenberg Jenny Chandler ... Sharon Martin With: Bruce Critchley, Barry Humphries, Ruta Lee, Stephen McHattie, Philippe Mora, Ron Soble, Carmine Zozzora. Aclassic case of a title in search of a movie, "Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills" can't decide whether it wants to send up L.A. lifestyles or sci-fi conventions. Failing either, this talky, unfunny and very dull comedy flaps rapidly fossilizing wings in vain. Minor vid and cable prospects will presage extinction. Beverly D'Angelo plays upscale housewife Pixie Chandler, whose husband, Dick (Brad Wilson), is a paleontologist. When Dick angers "tribal magic man" Brion James while on a desert dig, the latter casts a long-distance spell on the researcher's spouse. Soon Pixie is eating live fish, waking up in trees and swinging between various mutational stages. Egg-bearing pregnancy, a Navajo-Irish shaman and government investigators figure in the story before the vaguely "environmentalist" happy ending. Pic is almost action-free, relying on mild scatology (Dick's name earns the expected limp puns) and gag lines so lame you can't believe they made the final cut. (Dixie exclaims, "I feel like I'm trapped! Trapped ... like a trap in a trap!"-- huh?) There's nary a laugh throughout, despite D'Angelo's game attempts at avian mannerisms and a few moments of deliberately cheesy, Dynamation-style dinosaur effects.

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