Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)

Genre: Action Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 27 min.

Release Date: February 21st, 1992 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Roger Spottiswoode Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Estelle Getty, JoBeth Williams, Roger Rees, Martin Ferrero, Ella Joyce, Gailard Sartain

 


 

“H

opelessly silly” is a phrase not used often enough for films like this. “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” actually had potential, especially with its mix of comedy and action, but the presentation is more than a little off. A premise this ridiculous needs to be grounded in reality; instead, it focuses too heavily on Getty’s comical interference with Stallone’s life, creating a perpetual sensibility of fantasy. It’s unfortunate that, although he’s supposed to be a rugged cop, just about everything Stallone does is also doused in humor. There isn’t enough seriousness to contrast the gags. Plus, the villains are particularly uninteresting and equally as goofy.

The film starts with a cartoon title sequence like a something out of “The Pink Panther,” setting the tone for whimsical police conundrums. Sergeant Joe Bomowski (Sylvester Stallone) is a wisecracking cop, fast with sarcasm and even faster with his gun. His stolen property busts don’t always go as planned, and his Lieutenant, Gwen Harper (JoBeth Williams) is also his lover, who is constantly upset that he runs away from commitment and responsibility.

But his troubles don’t really begin until his elderly and seemingly frail mother Tutti (Estelle Getty) visits from Newark, calling him “Little Joey,” showing off his baby photos, and sharing bedwetting stories with everyone on the airplane. She also regularly attempts to get him a girlfriend, especially as his relationship with Gwen deteriorates. Tutti has coke bottle glasses, likes to vacuum in the middle of the night, and sees nothing wrong with washing Joe’s gun – bullets and all. She also wants to baby him with motherly activities like tucking him into bed, singing lullabies, fixing him breakfast, and generally torturing him with affection – like most overbearing mothers do. She’s also not afraid to walk down bad parts of town to negotiate for a fully automatic machine gun from dealers on the street, as a gift for her son. Right afterwards, she witnesses a murder, and insists upon accompanying Joe as he tries to solve the case of fraud, killing, and stolen firearms.

“Officer, secure the megaphone!” Joe cries out in disbelief as his mother snags the spotlight while trying to talk down a suicide jumper – after her son has already joined the man on a precarious ledge. And Joe just might jump himself. The film has lots of action, but it’s all relatively tame, especially as it’s surrounded by Getty’s jokes, old lady antics, and her obnoxious cupid techniques. While the film won three Razzie Awards for worst actor, worst supporting actress, and worst screenplay, “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” isn’t the most pitiful film of the year, especially with director Roger Spottiswoode (“Under Fire,” “Turner & Hooch,” “Air America”) at the helm – and he would go on to direct a James Bond entry (“Tomorrow Never Dies”) a few years later. Stallone may be too dippy and Getty’s character over-exaggerated and only marginally charming, but the chemistry between the leads is generally agreeable.

– Mike Massie

  • 5/10