Picks and Pans Review: My Stepmother Is An Alien

updated 12/12/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/12/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

At the risk of damning with faint praise, this comedy is a lot like Twins, only noisier. The similarity is not surprising since the films share two screenwriters (Harris and Weingrod). The duo had help this time from Jonathan Reynolds and someone who goes by the single name of Jerico. But it's still the same old fish-out-of-water fable. First we had Schwarzenegger, raised on an island, as the alien in L.A. Now it's Kim (Nadine) Basinger, a bombshell extraterrestrial from a planet 28 light-years away, visiting the City of the Angels. A bumbling widowed scientist, played by a chubby Dan Aykroyd, has messed up her planet's atmosphere with one of his experiments. Basinger's mission is to have him fix things. Instead, the joys of sex and marriage introduced by Aykroyd and the pleasures of mothering his 13-year-old daughter (Alyson Hannigan) make her want to stay and become a part of a family. Director Richard (Little Nikita) Benjamin tries to disguise the threadbare plot with explosions and special-effects hardware. But the film's a clanking bore, except for Basinger—a potential star still waiting for the vehicle that will let her shine. Her comic talent glimmers in a scene where she learns what a kiss is. But the filmmakers are more interested in selling family values. "Three people find each other and find a whole life together," said Benjamin, echoing director Ivan Reitman, who called Twins a story "about redefining the ties between loved ones." Are these guys related? Perhaps they'll team for a dual sequel, My Alien Stepmother Meets the Twins. On second thought, let's not rush it. (PG-13)

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