Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#1,387. Meet the Feebles (1989)

Directed By: Peter Jackson

Starring: Danny Mulheron, Donna Akersten, Stuart Devenie

Tag line: "Sex, drugs and soft toys"

Trivia: This film was originally conceived as part of a television series, and only became a feature after Japanese investors proposed expanding it

Peter Jackson’s second directorial effort (after 1987’s Bad Taste), Meet the Feebles is a 90-minute puppet show you wouldn’t dare let your kids see.

A low-brow spoof of The Muppets, Meet the Feebles takes us behind the scenes of The Feebles Variety Hour, a TV extravaganza that’s 12 hours away from its scheduled live broadcast. Yet as the director, Sebastian the Fox, continues to conduct rehearsals, the show’s cast is being rocked by one backstage scandal after another. For starters, the lead singer, Heidi the Hippo, has just learned her longtime manager / boyfriend, Bletch the Walrus, is cheating on her, causing the sensitive starlet to spiral into a depression. Things aren’t so great for the show’s second-billed star, Harry the Rabbit, either: he’s contracted a sexually transmitted disease that, according to Dr. Quack, is fatal, meaning poor Harry has only one day left to live. As if this isn’t enough, Sid the Elephant was recently hit with a paternity suit filed by his former lover, Sandy the chicken. With underground porn films being shot in the basement and a knife throwing frog suffering from heroin withdrawal, it’ll be a miracle if the show goes on at all.

Despite a few quiet moments, most of which involve the budding romance between Robert the Hedgehog and Louise the Poodle; as well as one very entertaining flashback (when Wynyard the Frog relates his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam), Meet the Feebles is an oft-funny exercise in bad taste. In an early scene, we’re taken inside Bletch the Walrus’s office, where he’s having sex with Samantha the Cat. Not to be outdone, Harry the Rabbit engages in a threesome (we’re led to believe this is what caused his STD) while Dennis the Anteater, who’s watching through the keyhole, masturbates. Along with the sex, Meet the Feebles has plenty of drugs, with Bletch conducting a major heroin transaction on a golf course, only to learn he’s actually purchased several kilos of the household cleaner, Borax. Mix in a few sequences of gross-out humor (from vomiting to a shit-eating fly that doubles as a gossip columnist), and you have a movie that’ll evoke belly laughs and turn your stomach at the same time.

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