Blu-ray Review: My Stepmother Is An Alien

After the death of John Belushi, there was a curiosity of how Dan Aykroyd would proceed. The duo had been linked ever since their days on Saturday Night Live when they gave us the Blues Brothers and other characters. The duo had just made Neighbors when Belushi overdosed in Hollywood. They were considered the new Abbott & Costello. While the two seemed inseparable, anyone who watched SNL knew that Aykroyd wasn’t Belushi’s straight man. He had his own set of memorable characters and created the Festrunk Brothers with Steve Martin. Dan proved to be a comedy star in films with Doctor Detroit, Trading Places, Spies Like Us, Dragnet and Ghostbusters. Right before Christmas in 1988, Dan gave us a present in a film that united his love of comedy and UFOs in My Stepmother Is An Alien.

Steven Mills (Aykroyd) is a scientist working on a project that sends radio waves into outer space. This is a serious gig since there’s a giant telescopic antenna on top of the building. In the midst of a nasty electrical storm, Mills sends out a signal that gets boosted into deep space. He sees it as a breakthrough. But the inhabitants of the planet Cosine N to the 8th see it as an attack on their civilization. Turns out that radio wave has messed with their gravity and the planet will destruct if something isn’t done to reverse the radio wave’s impact. The leaders send Celeste (L.A. Confidential‘s Kim Basinger) to track down Mills. She has a weird one-eyed snake creature living in a purse to help her land on Earth and complete the mission. The creature can make anything happen. It also teaches her about humanity via old movies that were broadcast out into space. She meets up with Mills at a beach part hosted by his brother Ron Mills (Mom and Dad Save the World‘s John Lovitz). Turns out Mills is amazed by the beautiful Celeste. Seeing how he’s a single dad, he’s more than eager to get involved with this mysterious woman. He overlooks her “quirks” as she fakes being human. His daughter (How I Met Your Mother‘s Alyson Hannigan) is a bit suspect of her new stepmom. Her job is to get him to undo the damage to her planet, but she ends up married to him in a quickie ceremony.

My Stepmother Is An Alien is a bizarre treat from the ’80s. It does a fine job of mixing ’80s humor with the kind of plot that you’d see in a ’50 science fiction show. Director Richard Benjamin keeps both elements working at the same time. Ackroyd doesn’t get too weird as the overwhelmed scientist dealing with his research, fatherhood and a hot new girlfriend. The real comedy star of the film is Lovtiz as his brother. He’s the right level of sleazy and annoying. Kim Basinger pulls out the hot alien character. You really can overlook her odd approach to normal things.

The movie was a victim of a competition heavy release date. My Stepmother opened up the same weekend as Twins. Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad, Scrooged and Ernest Saves Christmas were still in the cineplex. Imagine four comedies in the movie theaters in December instead of superhero films. The film was easily overlooked in the pre-holiday rush. The film has built up a bit of a cult audience on VHS and cable based on its younger cast members. In addition to Hannigan, there’s Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear) and Seth Green (Robot Chicken). My Stepmother Is An Alien is just a bit of ’80s fun with Dan Aykroyd holding the frivolities together.

Video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p imagery brings out the shiny nature of the special effects. Audio is the original lossless 2.0 stereo audio in LPCM. You’ll get an earful of Alan Silvestri’s score with Lovitz’s lines. The movie is subtitled in English.

Audio Commentary by critic Bryan Reesman. He gives plenty of background on the cast, crew and context. He is into the film.

Cosmetic Encounters: Directing My Stepmother is An Alien (14:08) is a fresh interview with director Richard Benjamin. He got the gig while driving home in his neighborhood. Turns out Jerry Weintraub was his neighbor. Dan Aykroyd was already attached. He enjoyed his time with Aykroyd from hosting Saturday Night Live. Benjamin had no idea the original script was a horror film. He praises Kim Basinger. He talks about working with the special effects. This is an audio interview with Benjamin with scenes from the film filling out the visuals.

Original trailer (0:32) has Celeste getting ready in zero gravity. Dave the Dog gets major billing.

Image gallery has 11 color press kit photos.

Arrow Video presents My Stepmother Is An Alien. Directed by Richard Benjamin. Screenplay by Herschel Weingrod, Timothy Harris & Jonathan Reynolds. Starring Dan Aykroyd, Kim Basinger, Jon Lovitz, Alyson Hannigan, Seth Green, Ann Prentiss, Harry Shearer and Juliette Lewis. Running Time: 108 minutes. Rating: Rated PG-13. Release Date: December 14, 2021.

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