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Film / Bug Off!

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Bug Off! is a 2001 comedy science-fiction film directed by T.C. Christensen based on the Terri Fields book of the same name.

The film follows nine-year-old Krista is sick and tired of the teasing antics of his younger brother. Their parents go off on business trips, leaving them with the babysitter Mrs. Pickle Nickle. However, they eventually learn that she's actually an alien (her actual name is Xenogarfs). Even worse, she turns Tyler into a beetle and doesn't know how to turn him back into a human. Another alien, named Yendor, tries to capture Tyler. Krista has to protect her brother as she takes him to school and deals with the principal Mr. Alfred Willow and his assistant Alice Plimpton. She and her friend Jeff also work to fend off Yendor.


Bug Off! contains examples of:

  • 555: The number on the babysitting poster is 555-2801.
  • Adults Are Useless: Krista tries to explain to her mother over the phone that Tyler turned into a bug, but she doesn't understand.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The aliens have their own language, but Xenogarfs (Mrs. Pickle Nickle) and Yendor also know how to speak English. Xenogarfs is a lot more fluent in English than Yendor.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Tyler is always teasing his older sister Krista
  • Baldness Angst: Mr. Willow wears a wig, and he's embarrassed when Krista knocks it off.
  • Blah Blah Blah: Krista's teacher starts saying this.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Krista jokes that she wishes her brother was a bug, and Tyler wishes he was a bug so he could scare her sister. Because they both want it, Yendor transforms Tyler into a beetle.
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  • Butt-Monkey: Yendor is subject to much slapstick.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Krista gets one where she's covered in bugs.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Mrs. Pickle Nickle says a duck whistle sounds a lot like an Anzo, a dangerous creature from her planet. Krista later uses the whistle to scare away Yendor.
  • Confession Cam: The film regularly cuts to Tyler, Krista, or Yendor, who give commentary on what's happening. When Tyler turns into a bug, his Confession Cam is also a bug. In the end it's revealed to be an interview in the alien world to make the film.
  • Conspicuous CG: When Tyler the bug flies, it's obviously superimposed over the footage.
  • Disney Death:
    • Tyler the bug is flying around to escape Yendor, and it looks like a skateboarder runs over him. However, it turns out to be a different bug, and Tyler is okay.
    • This doesn't last for long since Tyler the bug actually dies later in the film because he has a short lifespan, but transforming him back into a human brings him back to life.
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  • Facepalm: Tyler does this after he changes back into a human and Krista tells their parents she got a new box.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The principal Mr. Willow almost suspends Krista for dumpster diving. He believes
  • God Guise: Tyler the bug convinces Mr. Willow that he's actually an angel to get him to let Krista off the hook.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Given at the end of the film between some of the credits.
  • Humans Are Ugly: Zig-zagged. The aliens are repulsed by the look of one of their own disguised as an old woman. However, they like the human male disguise a lot better.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The librarian who keeps shushing everyone is very loud.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The aliens have some insect features.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: At the end of the movie, Tyler writes a story about his adventures as a bug. He also concludes his interview by saying maybe they'll make a movie out of it.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Tyler tells Krista and Mrs. Pickle Nickle he's going to kick their "assbolo".note 
  • Laughably Evil:
    • Yendor tries to steal Tyler the bug from Krista and threatens them.
    • Mr. Willow wants to suspend Krista because he believes she's going to throw garbage at him, but Tyler the bug convinces him to do a Heel–Face Turn.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: "No bugs were harmed in this production. But some of the crew got freaked out"
  • Pardon My Klingon: Mrs. Pickle Nickle tells the kids that razbolo is a bad word in her native language.
  • Rake Take: Yendor is trying to pursue Tyler the bug, who flies over a rake. Yendor predictably steps on the rake.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Tyler transforms into a bug on top of his clothes, and he's naked when he changes back.
  • Shout-Out: The kid who sits by Krista in class and says "It's gonna be my birthday" (called the Duh Kid in the credits) is inspired by the "I like Santa" kid in A Christmas Story.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Tyler is an expert at gaining sympathy from mom and dad, while Krista is sick and tired of his teasing.
  • Symbol Swearing: Combined with Pardon My Klingon.
    • One of the aliens says the human disguise "looks like a *#@ joke!" in the subtitled translation.
    • At the end of the movie, the aliens say "#*%RAZBOLO $*^#" when Tyler uses the duck whistle.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: "The persons and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual aliens is unintentional."
  • Tree Cover: Yendor hides from the kids in one of the trees in their front yard.
  • Twinkle in the Eye: Mrs. Pickle Nickle gets one when she introduces herself to Krista, and it happens to Mr. Willow when he insists that he's nice.

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