The 90’s were a great time for comedies. Riding on the success of big-budget blockbusters like Ghostbusters, 90’s comedies weren’t afraid to mix genres in an effort to appeal to the broadest audience possible. This era was when the comedy event-picture truly took off; releases all-year round were given larger budgets, and studios filled theater seats with people expecting some excitement and suspense in addition to laughing their butts off.
Appealing to action-seeking audiences was also a good out for screenwriters who could have found themselves wondering “how the hell do I take a kitchy 60’s sitcom like The Addams Family and keep people entertained for an hour and a half?” Plus, having a detestable villain would mean less overall effort spent convincing viewers to ally themselves with the quirky protagonists.
At least that was the idea. Some “fight the villain” plots were hard to buy into because the heroes could have won by simply not showing up. Plenty of these films’ antagonists are so horrifically ineffective that they never appeared to be a threat at any point in time. Here are some of the worst…
5. Kurt Bozwell – Good Burger
Kurt seems to take himself a bit too seriously for the owner of one fast-food restaurant. Yes, he has grand designs to unleash his Mondo Burger franchise upon the world, but you might want to get a foothold in the market before you start making rivals.
Also, how old is this guy? Nineteen? At that age wouldn’t owning a restaurant with ridiculous uniforms and an expensive industrial manufacturing facility imply that he has some serious financial capital floating around? Couldn’t he just out-compete Good Burger by just, you know, opening a new location where Good Burger has no market presence? Instead, Kurt’s delusions of grandeur spell his own downfall when he picks a fight with the first competitor that presents the slightest bit of trouble – a fight that he loses because he breaks a bunch of obvious laws.
Lesson, Kurt: start small with villainy and you won’t attract legal attention before your world domination schemes even leave the parking lot.
4. Smokey and his gang – Stuart Little
For a movie about a posh suburban family adopting a mouse, you’d think the main antagonist would be someone in their social strata trying to call their judgment into question. You know, a rival employee at Mr. Little’s business tells the boss he deserves the big promotion more than some nutjob who thinks animals are apt family members. Then, Mr. Little must justify his life choices, eventually choosing Stuart over an easy foothold into upper management, and everyone learns a lesson.
Instead we get cats. Homeless cats. The screenwriters couldn’t think of a better enemy for a talking, sentient mouse than a bunch of malnourished strays without their shots. Stuart could have won the conflict by simply waiting for warm enough weather that distemper could wipe out the lot of them.
The mafioso grey tom Smokey is admittedly a bit intimidating, and he’s obviously familiar with tactics like extortion and coercion. For instance, he forces two other mice to masquerade as Stuart’s real parents and kidnap him. But a bunch of wild tomcats aren’t exactly a daunting foe for full-grown humans. Humans who have access to a phone book with the animal control number inside. The result of the suspenseful climax could just have easily been achieved with a dish full of Meow Mix soaked in antifreeze.
3. General Leland Zevo – Toys
General Zevo’s goal is frightening, but his MO is… suspect. At best. He gains control of his brother’s whimsical and surreal toy factory and then decides to manufacture a series of automated attack drones in hopes of drumming up another World War. While this strategy might seem eerily prescient at first, keep in mind that he plans to manufacture these things as cheaply as possible. Like five-hundred bucks apiece cheap.
Seriously, he says “You give me half a billion dollars for one stealth bomber, and I’ll give you instead a million, toy-sized planes!” For starters, a stealth bomber cost upwards of two billion per aircraft in 1992, and for further comparison the most common unmanned vehicle in use today costs 16.9 million per unit. So, realistically he could offer them 120,000 drone toys for the cost of one stealth bomber if he gave a crap.
The complete lack of design quality also means that in the exciting finale of the movie the drones get to face off against… a bunch of wind-up toys. I’m dead serious. General Zevo’s weapons of war are thwarted by a bunch of tin geese and toy clowns. I’d feel bad for the US Military if they had the folly to purchase Zevo’s technology, but he threw that opportunity out the door when he decided to choke one of the ranking officials violently for not giving him an immediate response.
Even if Zevo’s toy tanks and planes had been extremely deadly, his decision to use children to pilot the drones also calls his judgment into question. “They have the best hand-eye coordination,” he claims. Yes, but do they uphold mission objectives rather than face a court martial? Or would they rather see what happens in the game when you try to blow up the friendly NPCs? Watch a nine-year-old play Left 4 Dead for your answer.
He should have made the kids play the official Toys SNES game instead, and they would have gone on a murderous rampage against the first thing they saw.