“Excuse me: I couldn’t help noticing that strange and unusual plant!”
An unsuccessful flower shop owner (Vincent Gardenia) is happy when his nebbishy employee (Rick Moranis) purchases a small, unusual plant that draws massive attention to his business. However, Seymour (Moranis) soon finds that his plant needs more than the usual substances to survive, and turns to the sadistic boyfriend (Steve Martin) of his beloved co-worker (Ellen Greene) as a source of sustenance.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Bill Murray Films
- Horror Films
- Killer Plants
- Steve Martin Films
- World Domination
Frank Oz directed this enjoyable adaptation of an off-off Broadway horror-comedy musical which was itself inspired by Roger Corman’s quirky b&w cult favorite from 1960. It moves quickly, building on the intriguing storyline in Corman’s original (scripted by Charles B. Griffith) while taking it to even wilder extremes and with much more color (and music). Speaking of music, it’s integral to the script, with each song (by playwright/lyricist Howard Ashman) helping to move the narrative and/or character development forward (they’re all quite catchy).
Perhaps most impressive, however, is Frank Oz’s puppeteering of “Audrey II”, which grows from a tiny and seemingly harmless potted houseplant:
… to a fully-grown force-to-be-reckoned-with:
… to a Godzilla-like monstrosity that has taken over the Earth:
(This ultra-dark, apocalyptic ending was the original one conceived and filmed by Oz; it was altered to something cheerier for theatrical release, but has now been restored.)
Also amusing are various cameos by comedic favorites — especially Steve Martin and Bill Murray’s interactions as a sadistic dentist who encounters his most enthusiastic patient ever.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine performances by the leads
- Steve Martin as Dr. Scrivello
- Bill Murray as Martin’s sadomasochistic dental patient
- Truly impressive puppeteering
- A most enjoyable soundtrack
Yes, as a cult favorite.