Forgotten Film Synopses: Mom and Dad Save the World


One of the last of the great lighthearted, family-friendly, cheesy comedic romps of the 80's-to-early-90's era, Mom and Dad Save the World is chock-full of great actors, nice effects, comic adventure, and of course, Jon Lovitz. It's another underrated Sci-fi comedy classic that spent far more money than it got back, which just isn't fair, considering a culture that could use a whole lot more feel-good comedic films of this caliber.


Far, far beyond the reaches of our solar system lies a tiny little planet called Spengo. As the former King of this world, Raff (Eric Idle) narrates, it is a planet of complete idiots (which is bad for Earth, considering their massive technological capabilities).  Once prosperous and peaceful, it's now been taken over by a guy named Tod Spengo (Jon Lovitz), who wears cheesy silken robes and constantly changes fake mustaches and other facial hair.


And Tod put all the planet's resources into a gigantic death ray which he wants to use to destroy Earth! His General, Afir (Thalmus Rasulala), informs Tod that the ideal spot to strike is a place called Woodland Hills, California. And when they bring it up on the monitor, Tod instantly falls in love with a housewife he sees working out in her backyard.


His mind changed about blowing up Earth that day, Tod orders his General to capture the woman and bring her back to planet Spengo, before fishing for compliments on his greatness in the first of many instances.

In the meantime, on Earth, we get a look at what's going on inside the housewife's humble home. Her name is Marge Nelson (Teri Garr), and she lives a typical life with her husband Dick (Jeffrey Jones), their kids, and dog, in a modern ranch house.

The Nelsons are your typical, Mom and Pop U.S.A. family, in a comically exaggerated sense. Marge is a homemaker with a bad perm and a collection of slideshows from the family vacations, while Dick is a grumpy, constantly complaining dead-beat who's always got a pain in his back, his ass, wherever.

Heading out as a couple on yet another trip, Dick and Marge take a back road where Emperor Spengo has them beamed up into space, to be transported to his planet.

As their station wagon flies through the stars, Tod comes over the radio and Marge decides it's a great opportunity to take pictures of passing planets like it's no big deal.


Landing on Spengo, General Afir claims Emperor Spengo wishes for them to attend his wedding. Tiny puppy-dog servants then take Dick right to the dungeons, while little female fish servants take Marge to a gorgeous suite in order to be prepared for what she doesn't know is her own wedding to Tod.

Marge has fun with the fish ladies, showing them pictures of her family and introducing them to coffee, while Dick argues with an animatronic rat before speaking with the former King of Spengo, chained up in his cell.

Raff explains to "Earth Dick" that with his instructions, he can get out of the dungeon, and locate Raff's son, the "white bird". Whatever. Dick doesn't exactly have the chance to make an escape yet, for Todd tried to have the wedding, where Marge found out what was going on. As a result of her refusal to marry him, Tod had her brought back to her room, while he uses the Mind Milk machine on Dick.


As a result, all Tod ends up finding out is how much Dick loves Marge, and how he wants to kick his ass. The insecure Tod takes his leave, where Sibor (Wallace Shawn) can't bring himself to kill Dick for Emperor Spengo, seeing as how he understands what true love is. He hands over his Destroyer uniform, and tells Dick to make a break for it.

After finding it easy to fool some guards, Dick comes across General Afir, the only one on this planet that seems to have some common sense and real intelligence. He obviously doesn't care much for the Emperor either, but orders the Destroyers to go after Dick, who ends up falling into the castle sewer system.

Immediately Dick sees the cutest little hopping mushroom alien, with a sweet smile and big blinking eyes. Trying to pet it, it turns out to be a carnivorous killer, with a mass of mushroom friends ready to chomp into him.


Dick ends up at a dead end, where water just falls from the tunnel into an area far below. He jumps onto the bottom rung of a ladder leading to a manhole out. Only thing is, it's like 10 feet away from the tunnel's opening. He finds he's so out of shape he can't do a pull-up, and just hangs there while the mushroom creatures snap at his ass.

But at that moment Marge tries to exit her room, after she'd had a long conversation with her puppy-dog guard, who is the husband of one of her fish attendants. When he heads out to patch things up, she takes off, but is caught by Destroyer guards. Hearing her calls, Dick finds the strength to do that pull-up, and heads upward and out.

He ends up in a giant room where Marge had been chased into, right where Spengo and Afir were waiting. But Marge pretends to fall for Spengo, and keeps Tod from shooting Dick, instead sending him crashing through the window and down to where their wagon is being held.

                                                     "Dick is small, and insignificant..."   lol.

He jumps into a mini flying pod amidst a barrage of laser fire from the guards (who also manage to kill each other), and utilize the retardedly simple controls to shoot through the sky and eject before mini-missiles can blow him up.

Thinking his work done, Spengo does a little victory dance and orders Marge taken back to her room once more, in preparation for their REAL wedding the next morning.


Dick crashes to the sands of the desert, as the stupid ejector seat had no belts, just a spring and three dumb balloons on it. After wandering forever, he eventually is caught by a tribe of nomads wearing giant bird masks and feathers.

They are led by none other than Raff's two children, Sirk (Dwier Brown) and Semage (Kathy Ireland). Believing their father is dead, they and the rest of their followers were cast out by Spengo, hunted by the Destroyers. The fact this whole tribe is aesthetically gorgeous could have something to do with that too (supermodel Kathy Ireland, seriously), knowing Emperor Spengo's farty, gross self. 


Unfortunately, like the rest of the planet's inhabitants, these people are just as dim-witted, too. They explain they wear the bird masks to fool the enemy, even though there are no birds on their planet that size...

When Dick mentions it, he also finds their "language" consists of pig latin, and when he hands over the letter from former King Raff, he's quite disappointed when the tribe tells him their only strength is their intelligence.

Still, he's determined to save Marge and defeat Spengo. He gives them a pep talk, which works so well, they all grab their spears and start running, prompting Dick to remind them they should prepare first.


They go to work that night, and Sirk shows Dick a bunch of weapons they've stolen from the Destroyers, including a "diabolical" light grenade that causes anyone who picks it up to disappear. When Dick says it's stupid since no one would pick one up, Sirk says it's easy, cuz the grenade has "pick me up" etched on it... some real idiots on this planet.

They then take "Great Dick" to a specially-prepared feast in his honor, where he meets an old (dead) friend of his, and has to take the first bite. They then dance the night away.


The next morning, as Spengo switches between fake mutton chops and beard in preparation for the wedding, General Afir goes to Marge and claims he switched a love potion with water, and Marge must pretend she falls for Tod once injected.

However, Emperor Spengo shows up just as Afir expresses his hatred for him, and sentences the General to death. Afir finally tells Tod exactly what he thinks of him, and likewise, pretends to fall in love with Spengo after being injected with the fake potion, too. Since Tod also heard Afir talk about how Dick ejected from his little ship, he sends out a death cart full of Destroyers to hunt him down.

The troops eventually find the nomads' camp, and figure they've stumbled in on them all sleeping. Under a sign reading "Earth Man's Bed", they discover a light grenade, and think it's Dick's head...

Of course, they all end up dead after taking turns picking the thing up, not catching on to all the previous Destroyers' habit of disappearing when they did the same.

Dick and company, in the meantime, head back to the castle in a gigantic wooden statue of Tod, in a Trojan Horse scheme against the Emperor. Spengo, of course, interrupts the wedding to accept it, and not only doesn't find it odd, but complains it makes him look ugly, and tells his guards to bring it in so everyone can see how it doesn't look like him.


Because one of the tribe actually sealed the door shut so "no man could enter", Dick ends up having to crash the thing down so they could get out. But fortunately, the battle goes their way, as the puppy-dog and fish aliens actually help them out, seeing as how they don't like Spengo, either.

Tod makes off with Marge and Dick follows. Then out in the hallway, Sibor catches sight of Semage - it turns out she was the one he was in love with! They run to each other and embrace. It's great they're reunited, but what's to become of Dick and Marge?

                                     Wallace Shawn in no way regrets his acceptance of this role.

So Spengo prepares the death ray for the destruction of Earth, with Marge tied up and General Afir in the beam's path. And in crashes Dick, after having been locked out and forced to swing in from the outside.

Now comes a super-funny sword "fight" that obviously involved no training on the actors' part, and purposely so. They squabble with blades like a couple of 10-year-olds with plastic light saber replicas, just before Marge frees herself and distracts Tod long enough for Dick to save the day. He pushes the Emperor right down a shaft into the sewers, where now Tod has to contend with the carnivorous mushrooms!

With the press of a single button, Dick is able to shut off the death ray just as timer runs out, resulting in it making a fart sound and spitting dust - and two worlds are saved!


Shortly afterward, King Raff is now back in his proper robes and informs Dick and Marge that he has reversed the polarity on the interstellar tractor beam. Although Sirk and Semage wish for them to stay on planet Spengo, since Tod is gone and loved ones have been brought together, the couple insists they have to leave. After all, Earth is their home, and Dick has to go back to work the next day!

Now together and wiser from the harrowing journey, they end up on the same road they first were lifted from, returning home to show all their pictures to their disbelieving kids, and to kiss over glasses of champagne while sitting on the roof, under the stars.


film (c) 1992 Cinema Plus, Douglas, HBO



Uploaded 09/10/2011
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