Cones phone home. Those “Saturday Night Live” cranial wonders have arrived on the big screen, and the result is a sweet, funny anarchic pastiche that should find broad based popularity. Its sly combination of the outrageous and the mundane is a surprisingly appealing screen entertainment that transcends the one-joke territory it inhabited on television.
Chief among “Coneheads” assets is a clean storyline. For anyone who ever wondered how this aberrant skull-configured family unit blended into the American topography without entering the radar sceen of Immigration and Naturalization Service, the answer is finally at hand. Briefly, it wasn’t easy.
The script, written by Tom Davis, Dan Aykroyd and Bonnie and Terry Turner, begins when the Remulakian scout ship of Beldar (Aykroyd) and Prymaat Conehead (Jane Curtin) runs afoul of U.S. Air Force fighter planes. Aground in alien territory, the illegals accept fugitive status and employment. Beldar is, briefly, a wizard appliance repairman and a cabdriver, changing jobs whenever the INS operatives close in on them.
When they are finally able to contact their planet, they are told that a rescue craft should be arriving several eons later. For the Coneheads, it’s a matter of holding tight and improving upon their social blending skills.
So, after Prymaat reveals that she is with Cone, the two settle into suburban bliss. They buy a bungalow, barbecue with the neighbors, join the country club and confront the travails typically associated with parents who have teenage daughters.
The unexpected strength in this foolishness is the sheer glee one derives from watching others relate to the visitors from another universe as if they were the Donna Reed family. Yes, they have inordinantly high foreheads and there’s no doubt their clipped, formal arcane use of the English language is not normally linked to immigrants from France.
And when that element begins to flag, the filmmakers can neatly throw in the goofy romance between daughter Connie Conehead (Michelle Burke) and local lunkhead Ronnie (Chris Farley).
There’s also the sporadic menace supplied by a top INS official (Michael McKean) and his supplicant assistant (David Spade).
Aykroyd and Curtin have evolved their characters dramatically from the cartoonish skit stage into two-dimensional figures whose robotlike demeanor just barely hides emotions touched through human contact. Burke also proves to be a face and brow to watch.