The Stupids is a 1996 adventure comedy film starring Tom Arnold and directed by John Landis. It is based on The Stupids, characters from a series of books written by Harry Allard and illustrated by James Marshall.
The film follows the fictional family, the Stupids, with the last name synonymous with their behavior. The story begins with patriarch Stanley Stupid believing "sender" from letters marked "return to sender" is a wicked man planning a conspiracy. Adding several misunderstandings, they unwittingly save the world from military chaos, while believing a fake story about a fictional man named Sender and his plot to confiscate everyone's mail and garbage.
An incredibly dull-witted family stumble unknowingly stumbled upon an illegal weapons deal while on the trail of their "stolen" garbage.
Why It's Stupid Indeed
- To call the family "stupid" would be an understatement. They claim people steal trash, think mouth-to-mouth resuscitation would work on a car, and create the most absurd conspiracy theories.
- Nonsensical plot involving a traitorous lieutenant selling weapons to terrorists, only to be thwarted by a family so stupid they think Drive B from a computer is a weapon.
- Absurd plot points that go nowhere and make no sense.
- Not one character is likable.
- Wastes a good comedy director (John Landis) and the cameos he managed to bring along.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- The part where Stanley sings "I'm My Own Grandpa" is kind of catchy.
The film opened to negative reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave it a score of 20% based on 15 reviews, as of November 2017. IMDb users gave the film a 4.2 out of 10. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave it a grade of "C+" on a scale of A+ to F.
Bruce Fretts of Entertainment Weekly gave it a grade F, calling it "Guaranteed 100 percent laugh-free. Derek Elley of Variety wrote: "The problem with "The Stupids" is that it isn't stupid enough by half. Lacking both the sheer gross-out humor of "Dumb and Dumber" and the carefully thought-through tone of the Brady pics".
John Landis said that he was proud of the film: "I'm happy to say it's very successful on television, and extremely successful on video because people buy it for their kids. It's meant for ten-year-olds. That really went under the radar. But I really like that picture. And that one had a great score by Christopher Stone."
The film grossed $2,491,989 in North America from an estimated $25 million budget and became Landis' weakest performing film.
At the 1996 Golden Raspberry Awards and 1996 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, Arnold won the Worst Actor for his performances in Big Bully, Carpool, and this film. For the Razzies, it was also nominated for the awards for Worst Picture, Worst Director (John Landis), and Worst Screenplay (Brent Forrester). For the Stinkers, it was also nominated for Worst Picture and Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy; it was also handpicked for the Founders Award - What Were They Thinking and Why? alongside The Phantom.
- Jack Nicholson and Tim Allen were both considered for the role of Stanley.
- During filming, Tom Arnold became so exasperated with the script he asked director John Landis, "Is this supposed to be funny?"
- On August 17th 2021, Tom Arnold stated on Twitter that he was paid $5,000,000 for doing this movie.