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Film: Mom and Dad Save the World
Mom and Dad Save the World is a 1992 film parody of Flash Gordon which stars Jon Lovitz, Teri Garr, Jeffrey Jones, Eric Idle, Thalmus Rasulala and other actors. Jon Lovitz plays Emperor Tod Spengo who is the cruel, silly and over-dramatic emperor of the planet named Spengo (which had been named Spango until Spengo conquered it and renamed it after himself). Teri Garr plays Marge Nelson and Jeffrey Jones plays Dick Nelson, her husband.

Emperor Spengo, with General Afir at his side, takes over a small planet at the edge of the galaxy populated entirely by idiots, and renames it after himself. He orders that all the resources of the planet should be engaged to create his "Super Death Ray Laser". The laser's purpose is to destroy Earth, thus making Spengo the greatest planet in the Universe. When Emperor Spengo looks at exactly where his Laser would strike, he sees Marge Nelson exercising — and falls in love.

Using his Magnobeam (a giant magnet), he kidnaps Marge and her husband Dick as they are on their way to a 20th-anniversary weekend. He hopes to make Marge his before he blows up the Earth. Dick and Marge get separated on Spengo, Marge is sent to the lap of luxury, waited on by small people with fish or dog heads, while Dick is thrown into a dungeon. Can Dick find his way back to Marge? Can the rightful king of Spengo retake his throne? What the hell were Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon smoking when they wrote this? Weed. Bales and bales of weed. So it's a Disney movie?

It won every Hugo Award that it was nominated for except Best Dramatic Presentation; it lost to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.


This movie contains examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: It poses the question: what if Emperor Ming was a short, fat, insecure hopeless loser?
  • And Now You Must Marry Me
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Hold it Spengo! That's MY wife you've got there, that's MY planet you're trying to blow up and (looking at the man tied to the Death Ray) that's... just some guy I met.
  • Bald of Evil: Tod Spengo, but he spends most of the movie hiding it.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The dog-headed aliens and the fish-headed aliens are different genders of the same species (male and female, respectively).
  • Bound and Gagged: Marge, near the end of the film.
  • The Caligula: Emperor Tod Spengo. If it weren't a comedy, he could be downright frightening.
  • Call Back: "Open my pants." "He does know father!"
  • Compensating for Something. Tod Spengo, in droves. In fact, he wants to destroy the Earth for certain reasons.
    Tod: The Earth! You think you're so big. So important!
    • Really compensating.
      Tod: Greetings, Marge Nelson. I am Tod the Destroyer, ruler of all you see. Impressed?
      Marge: Oh, yes. You have an absolutely adorable little planet here.
      Tod: (strained laugh) Ah, hah. Oh, so... you think my planet is little?
      Marge: Oh, yes, it's just tiny.
      Tod: (barely contained rage) I'll have you know, Marge Nelson, it's not the size of your planet, it's how you use it!
    • And it goes on.
      Marge: Todd... are you... insecure?
      Tod: (denial laugh) Hah! Me? Insecure? If I were insecure WHY WOULD I SPEAK SO LOUDLY? Hm? How about now, dear Marge? What do you think of me now?!
    • If you look at the plate on the wall which Dick and Marge stand in front of for a picture, it shows a "scale comparison" between the Sears Tower and Spengo's tower.
  • Ditto Aliens: Averted with the dog-men and fish-ladies, who possess differing fur/scale tones and patterns within their individual type. Marge is even able to recognize her guard from a fish-lady's family photo she'd seen earlier, and offer marriage counseling to help him get back together with his wife.
  • Double Entendre: Spengo drops these occasionally. Example in Compensating for Something.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Good news: Sympathetic guard. Bad news: No face-concealing helmet, and the borrowed uniform isn't even close to being your size Good news: planet of idiots. Bad news: Afir is no idiot.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: What Spengo plans to do.
  • Egopolis: One of the more extreme examples, as Tod renamed the entire planet after himself. Admittedly a really small planet, but still...
  • Expy: Aside from the Flash Gordon parody, one talking rat looks and behaves suspiciously like Salacious Crumb.
  • Face Palm: One of the Dog Guards during the "mutton chop" scene below.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: The laser weapons are especially jarring since the planet's denizens themselves know and acknowledge that they are all idiots.
  • Fur Bikini: Worn by the female natives. The men wear loincloths are and mostly bare-chested as well.
  • Gender Equals Breed: It is implied that the bulldog-men and fish-ladies are members of the same species.
  • The Good Chancellor: General Afir.
  • Groin Attack: Marge knees Tod in the groin, but he is unaffected, mostly.
    Tod: (high pitched voice) Thank you!
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Double subversion here.
  • Humans Are Morons: The dog- and fish-people don't seem to be stupid. It could be only the human-like aliens are idiots.
  • Idiot Ball: This covers everyone on Spengo who doesn't die from their own stupidity.
    • Idiot Plot: Lampshaded because it's explicitly stated that everyone living in the fictional society really is an idiot.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Destroyers all graduated. The fact that their weapons don't fire in a straight line doesn't help.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Give them credit - the denizens of Spengo know they're idiots.
    King Raff: Did I mention we were a planet of idiots?
  • Love at First Sight: Tod seeing Marge.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Lubb-Lubbs, which resemble cute, smiling mushroom like beings. Their actual mouths are huge and sharklike, filled with nasty pointy teeth.
    • Also filled with another mouth that is also filled with nasty pointy teeth.
      • They do taste good - at least to the natives - with heavy grease. Yum!
  • Mental Picture Projector. A reference to Flash Gordon (1980).
  • Mind Probe: The Mind-Milking Machine. The first thing Tod gets out of Dick's mind: My back. My back is killing me.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The Lubb-Lubbs.
  • Offing The Annoyance: Emperor Spengo is portrayed as a comedic version of The Caligula, as seen in the "mutton chop" scene in Too Dumb to Live below.
  • Oh Crap: Dick does this a lot.
  • Only Sane Man: General Afir through most of the film, even when compared to Dick and Marge.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The rebels wear large bird costumes to avoid being spotted, even though there are no birds nearly that large on the planet. Given their opposition, it might have been a pretty effective tactic anyway.
  • Pig Latin: It seems it's the natural language of the planet.
    Sirk: Aketay offay irdbay askmay!
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Both really cheesy dresses Marge is forced to wear.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Inverted. Tod was originally going to be named "Jon Lovitz" because the character was so heavily based on the actor, but the director and producer thought there was no way they could hire him. Lovitz ended up taking the part and loved the Tod-based set pieces so much he said he wanted to take them home and set them up around his pool.
  • Planet of Hats: Everyone on the entire planet of Spengo is a flaming idiot.
    • The rare example where the society knows it. "I'm the smartest one here, and I'm an idiot."
      • Though even they may be exaggerating. King Raff, when his intelligence is returned to normal, is able to speak in technical terms ("I have reversed the polarity of the Magno-Beam. I will return you to your planet forthwith and in great haste."), and General Afir is anything but stupid, though he could be the Only Sane Man.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Of course it does. The natives treat rocks like astonishly advanced technology.
  • Scary Black Man: General Afir, especially when giving his Death Glare.
  • Schmuck Bait: The light grenade, which completely annihilates anyone who picks up an active specimen, and which is labeled "Pick Me Up", manages to take out an entire platoon of soldiers, one by one. The last one is the platoon leader, calling for backup.
    Spengo soldier: The Earth-man has a light grenade for a head!
    • Strangely enough, it isn't the "Pick Me Up" message which gets them to pick it up. Only the man who picks it up before the platoon leader makes the call reads it. The rest (it's implied) seem to fall from a chain of dialogue which causes the next man to pick it up. They're just that stupid.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: The light grenade's effect.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Marge offers a dog-guard a granola bar in the course of offering marriage counseling.
  • The Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer: Just like John Carter of Mars was able to use his comparatively Heavy Worlder physique to become a Martian Warlord, Dick Nelson is able to take the entire planet of Spengo by storm despite being your average suburbanite because he's the only person on the planet besides his wife who is not an idiot.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Many examples, but aside from the "Light Grenade", this example takes the cake.
    Tod Spengo: Hey you. What do you think - mutton chops or goatee? Be honest.
    Twin Destroyer #1: Mutton chops, my lord?
    Tod Spengo: (considers for a moment) No. No, I like the goatee better. Shoot yourself in the head. (a beat) NOW.
    (Twin Destroyer #1 complies with a blaster to his own head.)
    Tod Spengo: Well? How about you?
    Twin Destroyer #2: (a beat, then brightly) Mutton chops!
    (Tod Spengo glares at him. Twin Destroyer #2 sighs, then shoots himself.)
    Tod Spengo: Planet of idiots. (Tod continues to check himself in the mirror.) You know what? They got a point.
    (Dog Guard Face Palm)
  • Trojan Horse: The giant bust of Tod Spengo. Of course, the rebels nailed it shut so there's no way for anyone to get in... or get out.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife. Sibor (Wallace Shawn) and Semage (Kathy Ireland).
  • Wacky Sound Effect: The sound of a guard shooting himself in the head seems to involve the sound of a rubber duck.
  • Weird Science: An affectionate parody.
  • Wilhelm Scream: When the Spengo guard is accidentally shot in the fortress docking bay, just before Dick escapes in the large pod.

MindwarpFilms of the 1990sMunchie
Terminator 2: Judgment DayHugo AwardThe Addams Family

alternative title(s): Mom And Dad Save The World
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