Kentucky Fried Movie, The (1977)

Kentucky Fried Movie, The (1977)

“The popcorn you are eating has been pissed in. Film at eleven.”

A compendium of irreverently satirical commercials and T.V. snippets bookend a spoof of Bruce Lee movies.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Comedy
  • Donald Sutherland Films
  • Episodic Films
  • John Landis Films
  • Satires and Spoofs

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that this “very funny, off-the-wall sketch comedy spoofing movies, commercials, old TV scenes and newscasts” is “still the best of the comedy revues”, and features “imaginative direction by John Landis and writing by Kentucky Fried Theater members”. He asserts that “the best routine is [the] lengthy takeoff of Enter the Dragon called ‘A Fistful of Yen’, with Evan Kim doing a remarkable impersonation of Bruce Lee (as well as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz)” — indeed, this section does contain some of the most hilarious moments in the film.

Peary names some of his other favorite bits in the revue — including one scene showing “a young black couple following the bizarre instructions on a how-to sex record” — and notes that there are “many hilarious sight gags”.

However, he concedes that the movie “gets laughs by having characters surprise us with vulgar language”, and notes that “some of the humor is too juvenile or tasteless”. The quote selected for this review gives an indication of how “vulgar language” is used for supposed-humor, but instead simply falls flat. As with all episodic films, the quality of each segment is variable — in this case, highly variable. Indeed, while I chuckled at a few select scenes, I’m ultimately not enamored with this early outing by producers Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker, who hit true comedy gold with Airplane! (1980) a few years later. Still, fans of Zucker et al. will likely be curious to check this one out, simply to see what portions might appeal.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Intermittently amusing segments and gags

Must See?
No; feel free to skip this one unless it’s your cup of tea.


One thought on “Kentucky Fried Movie, The (1977)

  1. Must-see – but I can see I will have to qualify that, given that the assessment here is rather dismissive. It’s mainly a must-see for those who appreciate the guilty pleasure of very vulgar, often sophomoric humor. All others are warned of that in advance.

    ‘TKFM’ – as it occurs to me now – is essentially a movie for guys (it seems). Although it’s often legitimately clever (i.e., the extended ‘Courtroom’ sequence is a very smart – and rather clean – cavalcade of witty wordplay), the film does not hold back (at all) from being outright gross and tasteless when it wants to be. It revels in going the extreme of being ‘very wrong’. (I’m partial to tastelessness if it’s done tastefully. 😉 )

    But – back to what’s relatively clean…one of my favorite sequences (indeed, one that would appeal to any film fanatic) is the ‘Feel-A-Round’ segment. This parody of the ‘Sensurround’ technology that was designed for theater use during showings of ‘Earthquake’ in 1974 is just flat-out-funny.

    I hadn’t seen this film in a long time. What surprised me most is that, although humor can age (and sometimes quite quickly and badly), almost all of ‘TKFM’ has held up rather well, 40 years later! I pretty much cracked up all through it all over again.

    Another refreshing touch to revisit was the painstaking re-enactment of the black-and-white ending of ‘The Wizard of Oz’, which comes at the end of the Bruce Lee spoof, ‘A Fistful of Yen’. I howled.

    A few years after this film, its creators gave us ‘Airplane!’ – which, in many ways, tones down the high-school-boy mentality of ‘TKFM’. That was probably a smart move – since they opened themselves up to a wider audience. Still…I’m very fond of ‘TKFM’ and find it wonderfully stupid, in the best possible sense.

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