Jesus Christ, three weeks later and this movie is still on?
Well, let’s recap the story so far: Martin Sheen’s mom killed herself, so ALF had to leave the Alien Task Force Base. He jumped on a bed, went to a strip club, and rapped.
…did I miss anything? No. I did not.
We open the final stretch with ALF sassing a robot and eating a lot and basically being unable to shut the fuck up for two seconds.
He talks to Dexter Moyers about space just enough to make it clear that we aren’t actually going to hear anything about space. Instead ALF sneezes and burps. No joke, this fuckball has burped more often than he ever said “I kill me.”
I don’t know why it took me so long to notice it, but he burped all the fucking time in the show. Every so often I’d point it out in a review because it was positioned as a particularly weird punchline, but it happened way more than I mentioned it. Dickbag here burped and burped and burped. Sometimes when it had something to do with what was happening, usually not. He’d just burp. Once he actually burped over the end credits, when we were just seeing clips of the episode and he wasn’t even “there.”
ALF burps a God damned lot, guys. If you ever get really bored and read over my reviews again, just imagine him burping in every screenshot and you’ll have some small idea of what I’ve gone through.
Anyway burp, burp, burp, burp, burp, burp. Hope that answers your questions about space, guy who’s saving my life.
The conversation quickly shifts to how badly ALF wants to fuck Moyers’ assistant. He even jokes about having violent anal sex with her right there at the table, because that’s what Project: ALF is.
Dexter Moyers reveals that he designed his robot himself, which didn’t really register as a reveal to me at all. Who else would have designed it? Sgt. Rhomboid? The trucker who listens to people fuck at the motel? The ladies at the strip club? There are only so many characters in this movie. Of course it was Moyers.
Jensen Daggett is super impressed by this…and also the fact that he cooks and cleans. That’s not that impressive, is it? I guess all the men she meets on Tinder just live in vats of their own filth.
Anyway, the guy sitting next to her is like, “Dexter Moyers ain’t so great,” so she snaps at him. And she really sells that snap.
Damn. Mess with the Jensen and you get the Daggett.
This guy, whoever he is, wants to know why NASA shitcanned Dexter Moyers if he’s such a hotshot who can build robots and do laundry.
So Dexter Moyers spills some backstory. I don’t think it’s supposed to be a joke, though, because it’s not about his mother hanging herself. He talks about how he saw a UFO once while he was on the job, and NASA wanted to cover it up. So, y’know, they fired him.
Well, that’s a disappointingly unjuicy story. It doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t know already, so why the recap? Did Paul Fusco know I’d eventually be covering this in three separate parts? And, man, judging from his massive house and robot slave he got a fat pension out of the deal, too. Now he just gets to sit around being rich, studying what he loves, and never having to work a day in his life, so what exactly was the problem here?
Anyway, ALF is bored of that story, so he asks the Russian girl if she’d ever date outside of her species. She replies, “It wouldn’t be the first time,” which I guess implies that she fucked her dog or something. Because this is what Project: ALF is.
Dexter Moyers says they should totally “go public” with ALF, and there are some meta jokes about how there could be ALF dolls in toystores and merchandise everywhere. Well, they’re supposed to be meta jokes. In actuality I can assure you that there was jack shit with ALF’s face on it by 1996.
This whole bit is supposed to be some kind of cheeky nod to the fact that you could go out and buy that great merchandise right now. Which, clearly, you couldn’t, and it just shows that Paul Fusco’s mind really is stuck in 1988.
That night ALF sneaks into this guy’s room and beats him off under the covers for a while. In return the guy teaches ALF to use a computer, because his expansive knowledge of using it for video production (“Don’t it Make Your Brown Eyes Blue?”), ratings fraud (“Prime Time”), and stock trading (“We’re in the Money”) apparently didn’t prepare him for sending an email.
ALF needs to contact his Alien Task Force connection over the internet to ask for more supplies, which is weird because he’s with four adults who can come and go at will and pick him up anything he needs, but Project: ALF retains the sitcom’s commitment to first drafts. Also, why isn’t this guy saying no? The last time ALF contacted the Alien Task Force they had to flee and get Ray Walston shanked in a prison shower. Why is he helping him do it now?
Anyway, most of the stuff on his shopping list is sexy clothing he wants the Russian woman to wear and food he wants to lick off of her, because this is what Project: ALF is.
Whoever this guy is dicks around on the computer for a while, and he finds MyEvilPlanToExposeAndFuckOverALF.docx on the desktop. As soon as he opens it, though, Dexter Moyers appears and presses the Enter key, which, as you all know, immediately closes all active windows.
Dexter Moyers is like, “Don’t worry about that document.” But unfortunately they do, so the movie doesn’t end right here. Whoever the other guy is gets up and leaves. I envy him.
Then ALF and Dexter Moyers sit around talking about ALF’s shopping list. Seriously, think about all the kids in 1996 who were excited to see ALF back on TV, and they tuned in just to see him talking to some guy they’ve never seen before about what he wants to buy on Amazon. What a waste of everyone’s time this movie was.
ALF jokes for a while longer about wanting to fuck that Russian lady. Dexter Moyers is cool with that because he’s got cameras anywhere and Slutload would go wild for that shit.
While they fritter away the rest of their lives in that pointless scene, the other guy sneaks into Jensen Daggett’s room to ask for a sock he can sniff or anything because, man, he just needs something tonight.
Dexter Moyers pops in because this is the only stretch of the movie he’s in, so he might as well make it count.
This pisses off the other guy, whoever he is. Then he and Dexter Moyers just kind of stand there in the middle of her room and stare at each other for a while.
It’s…weird, and staged really oddly.
Like, I honestly do think the movie was short so they just spliced in some raw footage of these two standing around. It feels less like they’re acting than it does like they’re waiting for the scene to be re-blocked.
Jensen Daggett kicks the guy who isn’t Dexter Moyers out of the room. She says, “Since you clearly can’t take a hint, go back to your own bed. I’m about to be plowed by the guy you hate.”
Then he makes the exact face that every guy makes when he realizes he’s whiffed his one shot with Jensen Daggett.
Dexter Moyers says, “Can you believe that jerk? What a jerk, that jerk.”
Then Jensen Daggett asks for reassurance that they’re doing the right thing, but she means with ALF, not anal.
Dexter Moyers replies in a way that makes it very clear that he’s a lame villain in a TV movie and not anything resembling a human being. He stops just short of saying, “Of course we’re not. Why would I ever do the right thing? Pay attention to the music cues. I’m the bad guy, and we’re going down in flames.”
The next morning, Martin Sheen sniffs a tuft of ALF’s pubes.
That’s it. That’s literally all that happens.
Great scene, guys.
Like, come on. They have a legitimate star in their movie but they can’t think of anything to give him to do. They really can’t tell Sheen from shinola.
After that we’re back at stately Moyers Manor, where it’s revealed that that other guy ran away in the middle of the night. Everyone else sits around saying, “Damn, we never even found out why he was in this movie.”
Then Dexter Moyers is in a tizzy, because the plan is to reveal ALF to the public on live television today…on, for some reason I’ll never understand, a station based in London.
You’d think this was just some excuse to get ALF to England for the movie, as that might have led to a fun plot and convenient misunderstandings and a new environment for ALF to kick around in, but it would also take effort, so fuck that; they’re interviewing him via satellite.
So, from a narrative standpoint, why not just have ALF be interviewed on a TV station based out of Arizona or wherever the shit they are? I don’t understand why it’s some unnamed British broadcasting corporation. Literally any outlet based anywhere would have worked for the sake of the plot, and logistically there’s no reason not to film this locally.
I guess the whole thing needs to be a satellite hookup so that things can go wrong when ALF has to take a gigantic shit — spoiler alert, I guess — so this is what we’re stuck with. If it were me I probably would have written a second draft that addressed these issues, but what do I know.
Anyway, whoever that other guy is calls the Alien Task Force from a diner and Martin Sheen traces it. Who cares.
A bunch of production guys run around the house getting ALF ready to appear on TV. Since we’re doing the whole “last-minute preparations” thing, I have even less of an idea why they’re not in a news studio somewhere. This satellite linkup thing…I don’t get it.
Seriously, it’s odd. Dexter Moyers has TV-quality production and broadcasting equipment, and a fucking soundstage with studio lighting rigs, in his house. Why? Because narratively speaking, ALF is about to appear on TV. I get that.
But then why isn’t this taking place in Local Channel 6 studios? Why are we still in Moyers’ own fucking house? You’re telling a story about ALF being in a TV studio, so why is he not in a TV studio?
I can’t express how odd this is. Yes, Moyers has a big house, but he doesn’t live in The Situation Room. Why is this all happening here?
All these assholes bumbling around fixing ALF’s hair and makeup also make me…miss the sitcom?
Nah…no…that can’t be. But the sitcom was smarter about this, at least.
See, one thing I liked about the show (one of…two things?) was that when people met ALF, they by and large had believable reactions. After all, he’s a hideous space beast, the likes of which they’ve never imagined. So the show had characters faint, scream, flee, doubt their vision, go insane, stop dead in their tracks, try to kill him, fall over dead…
…no two reactions were exactly the same. Okay, sometimes characters just shrugged and got on with their lives, so I don’t want to give the show too much credit, but in Project: ALF we keep meeting people who immediately engage with the alien and don’t seem to be fazed at all.
Which is weird. And kind of dumb. It’s like Paul Fusco remembered that ALF was supposed to be kept secret — hence the entire plot of this movie — but somehow didn’t remember why.
Anyway, we pad out the scene a lot more by having ALF make jokes about Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Bill Cosby, and Gerard Depardieu. If the thing you enjoy most about ALF is hearing him say the names of people you recognize, boy howdy is this the film for you.
Then this other guy is in the diner and declines a coffee refill. Riveting stuff. I was totally convinced he was going to let the waitress top him off. Then Martin Sheen and his assistant come in and arrest him.
There’s actually a good physical moment here when this guy salutes Martin Sheen, and Martin Sheen instead offers his hand to shake. It gives you the sense that he’s going to pretend he’s friendly so that he can manipulate the guy into turning ALF over or something…but once they clasp hands the assistant cuffs him.
It’s not funny or anything, and I’m not sure it’s even trying to be, but it’s a nice physical bit, and they make it look pretty natural. Also nobody talks, so it’s instantly the best scene in Project: ALF.
Back at Moyerton Abbey, Jensen Daggett wears an open shirt that made men out of many boys in the audience that day.
It turns out she confronted Dexter Moyers because she overheard his goons talking about Project: Ruin ALF’s Life, and wants to know if it’s a good or an evil thing that he’s planning.
He grabs her by the arm and walks her down the hallway, presumably toward his underground pit of smoking acid. She then, finally, suspects that Dexter Moyers’ motives might not be pure, after she finds a stack of drawings Dexter did of himself murdering ALF, a manuscript entitled How I Intend to Destroy ALF, the Alien, Who is in the Other Room: a Completely True Confession by Dexter Moyers, and an inspirational poster of a kitten hanging from a branch that says OPEN YOUR EYES BIMBO.
But by this point it’s too late!
Dexter Moyers has one of his goons toss Jensen Daggett in a room. Then he walks away, secure in the knowledge that the bad guy always succeeds after turning his back on whoever just learned of his nefarious plan in the last 15 minutes of a shitty film.
Outside Cadillac Jack’s diner (slogan: “I’m Cadillac Jack!”) we get a twist.
This guy, whoever he is, knew Martin Sheen was listening in on every line in every city in every country. He placed that call so that he would be found and arrested and tazed and humiliated and have his genitals pounded into mush by military truncheons.
See, he has his own plan: he wants to use Martin Sheen to stop Dexter Moyers!
So whoever this guy is promises to tell Martin Sheen where ALF is, if he promises not to hurt Jensen Daggett and also tell her that he’s really cool and handsome and they’re a lot alike actually and should totally hang out sometime.
Boy, things are sure building to a head, aren’t they?
Well, fuck you, the movie’s ending anyway.
Back at Moyers’ place, ALF gets ready for his English audience debut with the most legal pipe any ALF cast member has ever smoked.
Moyers says, “What do you think this is? A comedy? I don’t hear any laughing dead people. Do you?” He then takes the props away because that will kill another few seconds of screentime.
ALF makes some jokes about people wiping their asses on their shower curtains and how gross it is when women bleed out of their hoo-haws. Gee…how could anyone think his shtick got old?
Also at some point he says, “Just walk away, Renee,” which is the name of a song and has nothing to do with anything that’s happening, and that’s close enough to a joke for Paul Fusco.
Through this whole thing the Russian lady keeps acting like she can’t wait to get his alien dick in her mouth…and, you know what?
I believe it.
I guess they cast the right woman for this role after all. She literally cannot speak a word of English without having to re-dub it later, but she looks at ALF with genuine lust, so we see exactly where the casting director’s priorities were.
Then Dexter Moyers gets ready for his interview, and the host is dressed like Larry King. Like…so much so that I assume it’s deliberate. Which at last explains the English connection. Yes. Famous British icon Larry King.
Sir Larry asks Dexter Moyers what the fuck they’re going to talk about in the interview.
He doesn’t know? They’re going on the air in like 15 seconds. This guy really needs to fire whomever screens his fucking guests.
Dexter Moyers says it’s a surprise, which is exactly how live television works always.
After that we cut to Jensen Daggett sitting on the bed watching TV, and it’s almost as exciting as that time that guy almost got his coffee refilled but didn’t.
And, man, where can you possibly go after that? I can’t imagine anything that would live up to the sights we’ve seen. I mean, not unless it’s a Russian lady pouring orange juice while ALF burps, but how could…
The Russian lady pours orange juice while ALF burps. Then ALF remembers that other really gross thing he does a lot, and tells her he needs to take a gigantic shit.
And, yes, the climax of the film does actually hinge on the severity of ALF’s bowel movement. Did you really expect anything less by this point?
The Russian lady tells him he can’t go take a shit (…for…some reason?) and chases him, but he runs into the bathroom anyway. Which is by far the most polite thing ALF’s ever done when he had to take a shit, so she shouldn’t really get mad at him.
Larry King’s Cross cuts to commercial — which narrows down a bit which channel they’re on, unless Fusco & co. didn’t realize that British programs are financed differently from American onces — just in time for Dexter Moyers to be informed that ALF is taking the mother of all shits and isn’t ready to be on the show.
Oh, ALF! Will you never learn to control your sphincter?
Dexter Moyers yells at the guy who told him this. But what was Dexter Moyers doing this whole time? Sitting in a chair assuming everything would go perfectly during a live television broadcast? For someone with a plan of monumental evil, he sure didn’t put any effort into executing it whatsoever.
It would be like if I ordered some idiots to conquer the world for me or something, and then I sat in a lawnchair all weekend and was surprised when it didn’t happen. Like…I don’t care how high up the chain you think you are. You do need to do something as a villain.
I dunno. Maybe his villainous plan is just to waste some British audience’s time. It seemed to work pretty well for Paul Fusco and American audiences.
Anyway the guy Dexter Moyers yelled at runs to the bathroom ALF is in. He shoves the Russian lady out of the way so he can yell at ALF through the bathroom door and be casually violent toward a woman in the same scene.
After the commercial break, Dexter Moyers has to stall for time and say ALF is in the studio, but not ready to appear. And, man, I bet you sure wish you filmed some footage ahead of time for this feature instead of just hoping everything would work out perfectly on live television. Or at least taken some pictures to show.
Like, don’t get me wrong, this guy is trying to ruin ALF’s life forever and profit from it, which was kind of my intention with this whole review series, so I’m on his side. But he really did not plan for this at all. He could at least have chained ALF to the chair.
Why do all the people who hate ALF as much as I do have to be incompetent bozos?
Then Martin Sheen shows up. He shuts down the production and arrests Dexter Moyers. (Dead air is a crime.)
But that’s not all! He arrests Jensen Daggett, too. And that other guy specifically told him not to arrest Jensen Daggett! The fucker.
So this is…kind of odd. How many films have dual villains? Not in the sense that there’s a main villain and some other villain who works with him, or betrays him or something…but two villains that want two different things (arresting ALF / revealing ALF) that are in direct conflict?
It’s kind of weird. I can’t think of a real precedent for that. Superhero films often have more than one villain, but (in the good ones, at least) they’re either working together, or their stories intersect and comment upon each other. This is more like spending a movie with Lex Luthor until The Joker shows up toward the end and says, “What are you doing here? I’m the antagonist. Shove off.” And then…Luthor actually does just shove off. What kind of movie would that be?
I guess it’d be Project: ALF.
On the bright side, you can see ALF getting carried away in that screenshot, and it’s hilarious, because I finally get the scene I imagined happened in “Consider Me Gone” as a kid: ALF getting hauled off screaming by government agents.
God loves me after all.
Anyway, Martin Sheen gloats about how he’s really a big piece of shit and he’s going to hurt lots of people and kill ALF and blah blah blah, so this other guy, whoever he is, leans back and presses Tab and Caps Lock at the same time, which, as you all know, immediately activates all of the video cameras and microphones in the house.
This other guy tricks Martin Sheen into confessing all the awful shit he did. The cameras capture him doing this, and no secret is made about that. It’s treated as an artful reveal later, but we already saw it happening, so any and all tension immediately evaporates. Well done, guys.
The bad guy giving his big speech is supposed to be scary or intimidating or worrying, but here we actually see the resolution before the movie gets there.
We know Martin Sheen is fucked in advance of hoping he’ll be fucked. As a result, we don’t care about any of this shit he’s saying. It’s just a waste of our time, because we already know precisely where it’s going.
Fuck almighty. It’s like Project: ALF is actively striving for incompetence.
Then the other guy does a fake salute but really scratches his neck, like when you trick somebody into thinking you’re going to shake their hand. Which I guess ties back to the scene when Martin Sheen tricked him into thinking that same thing before…but back then he really did shake his hand; he just also arrested him, so who the fuck knows.
Then ALF is in ALF jail.
Martin Sheen comes in and says, “Didn’t you lead us on a merry little chase?”
…no. Not really.
You went to a hotel, and then a diner. If he had led you on a merry little chase it might actually have made for a good movie, and it certainly would have led you to more interesting locations than that.
Martin Sheen tells ALF that they’re going to kill him, in order to send a message to aliens everywhere. Which…okay. Unless aliens are watching you do it I’m not sure what message they’d get out of it, but okay.
Then he tells ALF about how his mother committed suicide, which as you’ll recall is this film’s most hilarious running gag.
Speaking of which…man, literally nothing funny happens in this stretch of the movie. In the previous two reviews I was able to spotlight some decent jokes or moments, but the homestretch is such an awful slog. Maybe the point of Project: ALF was just to make sure nobody would miss the character when he disappeared again.
Martin Sheen tells ALF he’s as good as dead, but he doesn’t kill him. He just leaves and goes to his office for no reason that I can fathom except that the next scene is supposed to take place there.
Then Martin Sheen talks to his superior — the very model of a modern major-general — about how awesome he is, but Martin Sheen’s assistant comes in with the video tape of his confession. Which might have qualified as a surprise if we passed out from boredom during the scene in which we were explicitly told this would happen.
It turns out the young, dumb sidekick was a good guy all along. That’s a great twist if you’ve never seen a movie before, and I might even care about it if I cared about literally anything involved with Project: ALF.
We then see the confession scene play out. Again. In its entirety.
Yes, we saw the whole thing damned thing literally one minute ago, but this is a movie! We need to waste even more time than an ALF production usually does.
This video ruins Martin Sheen’s clout with his boss, and his assistant is hailed as a big hero instead of being dishonorably discharged for knowingly fucking over a superior officer.
Why did we bother giving Martin Sheen a sympathetic, cloying backstory about his mother killing herself if we’re just going to offhandedly dismiss him from the film like this? I honestly thought the end of the movie would involve him warming up to ALF, because he learned the #notallaliens lesson that seemed to be hardwired into his character arc.
But no. His mother’s suicide was just…there. Why give him that backstory then? Either give him an emotional conclusion that justifies in any way the choice to toss tragic suicide into his backstory, or don’t put it in the movie in the first place.
And now he’s getting a villain’s comeuppance, but really all he did was his job. ALF escaped from the base. As head of security, he had to track ALF down and bring him back, which he did. Alive.
Yeah, he talked about killing ALF, but he was in an urgent, high stress, emergency situation. He could easily have written off his comments as having been made in the heat of the moment.
In fact, when he had the chance to kill ALF he turned around and walked away, so it’s not like he was out of control. He was still working through official channels and protocol, so what does it matter what he says on the tape?
Ultimately the only thing the guy did was the job he was hired to do, but fuck him. We needed a villain. Other than, y’know, the other villain.
Eat it, Sheen.
Then the movie’s over, because it hit the minimum length you must meet in order to legally market your project as a film.
It really does stop exactly that abruptly.
We’re told that all the good guys get a promotion, and ALF will be safe forever. Also the Air Force hired that drink-serving robot from before. So…that’s cool.
Whoever this guy is also gets the courage to ask out Jensen Daggett in front of this official tribunal or whatever the fuck it’s supposed to be, because that’s certainly appropriate and not coercive in any way.
She says yes, secure in the knowledge that the movie’s over and she won’t have to go to bed with him in the next scene.
We end with ALF banging the gavel, only he hits this other guy’s hand, and the guy forgets to react for a couple of seconds.
Man, this is the last scene in the movie. Fucking reshoot it if he didn’t hit his cue. Are you really in that much of a rush to go home? I love that nobody seems like they enjoy making Project: ALF any more than I enjoy watching it.
They ask ALF where he got the gavel and he says, “Judge Ito.”
So literally the entire movie ends with an O.J. joke. And that’s, of course, if you consider one character saying somebody else’s name to be a joke.
That’s…come the fuck on, Fusco. It wasn’t even timely. By the time this aired the trial had been over for about half a year. Maybe it was timely while they were writing the script, but that’s sort of the problem with timely jokes; by the time you get to tell them, everyone’s moved on. That’s why Saturday Night Live and late-night talkshows can get away with them, while shows like The Simpsons and (especially) American Dad! have to be very careful about mining current events for their comedy. No matter how perfect a target may present itself, standard programs take so long to make it to air that a topical joke, ironically, ends up feeling behind the times.
It’s even worse that this is the single joke that punctuates the entire movie. It makes the whole thing feel embarrassing and dated in retrospect. Even if you enjoyed Project: ALF there’s no way that hearing an alien say “Judge Ito” enhanced the experience.
So, yeah, that’s the end of Project: ALF. Why so damned abrupt? Last week commenter RaikoLives said this:
I fully expect the writing process on this movie consisted of Fusco handing in script after script saying “Is that long enough?” and the producer telling him no, so he just scribbled out “the end” and wrote “and then…”, gradually filling pages until he padded it out enough.
The actual end of the film sure feels a lot like the producer finally said “yes” and he stopped writing right there. For a project six years in the waiting, it sure feels like it was dashed off in a week. You’d think Fusco would have invested more creative energy into this thing, since it was his one big chance to get ALF back on our screens. Instead he used the opportunity to give us probably the worst ALF experience yet.
I will go on record as saying that “Consider Me Gone” was actually a better finale than this. That may be a controversial opinion, but damn was this awful. At least that episode felt like the end of a story we’d been watching. A hilariously botched ending to a monumentally stupid story, yes, but “alien is captured by the government agents looking for him” is not too much of a stretch.
Project: ALF brought the character back to give him a better send-off, but “alien hangs out with people we don’t know and wants to fuck a Russian lady but instead takes a big poo” is not exactly an improvement on what we already had.
I don’t think I’ve heard many kind words about this movie, even from the biggest ALF fans. Did anyone out there actually enjoy it? By all means, let me know if you did. I’d love to hear what you thought worked and what didn’t about the film.
For me, though? Project: ALF‘s biggest achievement was making the sitcom look good.
Oh, crap. It’s the end of the review and I forgot to write a concluding joke.
White Bronco chase?
MELMAC FACTS: At some point on Melmac, ALF was an underwear model. Aren’t you glad that’s the Melmac Fact you’ll carry with you as we part?