T&A director Jim Wynorski tries on the family film with good results in “Munchie.” Picture opened in May in Nashville but is of interest mainly to vid fans.
Title is a bit confusing, since the singular “Munchie” is a sequel to Bettina Hirsch’s 1987 film “Munchies.” That kind of moniker reversal is rare, though Universal remade the 1939 classic “Destry Rides Again” in 1954 as simply “Destry.” (Adding to the confusion, Universal’s original 1932 version was also called “Destry Rides Again.”)
This time, there is only one critter, an oversize smiling puppet voiced in wisecracking style by Dom DeLuise. It’s discovered in a mine shaft by young Jaime McEnnan and becomes his pal, helping him with bullies at school and granting other wishes magically.
Film lacks the frenetic nature of its models, such as Joe Dante’s “Gremlins” and other imitations like the “Critters” and “Ghoulies” series. However, Wynorski’s pacy direction and frequent sight gags keep things moving in entertaining fashion.
McEnnan is an ingratiating young hero, and Loni Anderson, very attractively photographed, makes for a most glamorous single parent. Arte Johnson has little to do as a neighboring archaeologist (filling the role of Harvey Korman from the original), while Andrew Stevens overplays his nominal heavy as the hero’s future stepdad.
Effects, such as a flying pizza, are minor, with the accent on comedy. Wynorski’s trademark of buxom women in the cast is delivered not only by Anderson but by Toni Naples as McEnnan’s math teacher and by Monique Gabrielle as a sexy school secretary to the principal.