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  • Young Nicholas Strouse due to a combination of interesting circumstances learns he might be the leader of an alien race who while they might not have powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men certainly he and those like him feel they're just Doin' Time on Planet Earth. Is he the one to lead these misfits home?

    Well not if it's going to interfere with his big brother Timothy Patrick Murphy's wedding this Saturday to Isabelle Walker, the daughter of Hugh O'Brian who once ran for president. But after Strouse starts getting e-mails from a pair of serious UFO fanatics like Adam West and Candace Azzara, he starts to think there might be something to him really being an alien.

    Doin' Time on Planet Earth is a bit above the usual teenage coming of age party film and part of the reason is the incredibly hammy and overacted performance of Adam West who is just having one grand old time leading a band of misfits. The film is worth a look just to see him alone, burlesquing his Batman persona.

    Martha Scott is in this, looking a bit lost as to how she got roped into this film. Matt Adler is fine as the perpetually hormonal best friend of Strouse and Andrea Thompson is miles from no-nonsense Detective Jill Kirkendall from NYPD Blue as the lounge entertainer and stripper who fulfills all of what Strouse really needs.

    It is sad though that this was the farewell film of Timothy Patrick Murphy, best known for being Mickey Trotter on Dallas, who died way too young of AIDS. That young man had it all, looks, charisma, and a goodly share of thespian ability. He was a particular favorite of mine from the Eighties.

    Doin' Time On Planet Earth is far from the worst film of this kind I've ever seen and you might get a few genuine laughs from it.
  • Doin' Time on Planet Earth is seriously off-the-wall stupid comedy and one that might make you wonder why Adam West was never in more comedy like this (I've only seen him in parts making references to his role as TV's Batman).

    An alienated teenager learns that he is the leader of an alien race and he must help them to return to their planet. This wacky series of events occurs during his brother's weekend wedding, which he was ordered by his family to behave as normally as he possibly can. Add to the mix Matt Adler as the kid's horny best friend and the B52's, and you have yourself some good times. There are so many funny little occurences going on, it's a scene man!

    It's a good little film.
  • This is a very obscure and old movie, but it has a good lesson behind it: You should always be yourself no matter what people think about you. Celebrate being different and weird! This is also a great movie to see if you're a huge fan of the B52s (like I am). Two of the movies coolest characters are dressed like Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson of the B52s! Great cheezy, fun 80's movie!

  • Nice to see 47 other people have heard of this film. Maybe in another universe (or planet, ala the film), it would've been more well-received. I only know of it from The Movie Channel airing it frequently around 1989-90. Since then I've yet to lay eyes on it again. Most will be unimpressed or bored, but if you like a lot of quirk to your films, you may be surprised. From rotating, airborn restaurants, gawky teens, a bird in a beehive hair-do, a so-horrible-he's funny lounge singer, and an Arabian college recruiter, this gets points for oddballness. Strouse is perfect as the kid who doesn't quite fit in, having an extra vertebrae and been struck by lightning several times. Plus a habit of over-analyzing his life, to the point of being ridiculed by his own family. Adler is good as his by-the-numbers, sunglass-clad 80s buddy, and Thompson adds some trashy sex appeal with her temptress. And I'll admit, another reason I liked it, was the lead character had the same name as me. To find a "Ryan" in any film is a rarity, but also one where the hero is such an outcast, was fun. The ending gets a bit outlandish and doesn't really resolve anything, but it seemed to the filmmakers point anyway. I mean, what else can you make of a story about a geeky 17-year-old who may be the half-human, half-extraterrestrial leader of a clan of weirdos from the planet B-52? Exactly.
  • I have to disagree with the previous review of this movie; I thought it was okay. I saw it once or twice on cable a few years ago and was amused. The lounge singer, for example, I found to be funny (The "Stop in the name of love" scene was a riot) and the other characters in the movie were equally out there. This is one of those movies you can't take too seriously. I'm not saying it's a great movie, but you have to look at as an off the wall comedy.
  • Believe it or not, the script was far better than the finished product. Charlie (Matthau), a nice guy, missed the essence of the story in favor of submitting to some teen formula. I don't know where it went wrong, but it did.

    I can say this, though, the people were nicer than on any other production set I have worked. I hope they are all doing well.
  • Blueghost21 November 2002
    This film has charm. Charles Matthau's first feature film has quirky appeal to it, but looks and feels very much like a high budgeted afterschool special. I mean that in a good way, because the film itself is well crafted, and the characterizations of the supporting cast puts a smile on this viewer's face.

    The intro was particularly interesting, and helps draw you into the characters and their world. Unfortunately this aspect of the film is not carried on throughout, leaving the viewer to wonder exactly what happened. Even so the intro does a good job setting the overall tone for the film; an offbeat "teenage outcast come of age" type of movie.

    Two highlights of this film are Adam West and Andrea Thompson. Adam West does a bang up job of portraying a well meaning neo-UFO-conspiracy-theorist, whose sole aim is to bring about certain events he as thinks they should unfold. He thinks he knows it all because the things he's seen, to him, seem to be falling into place for a really big event that'll solve all his (and his follower's) problems. Andrea Thompson plays the local "bad girl" who comforts our protagonist Ryan Richmond, and plays her part almost too well; by this I mean that when I saw her performance, to me, it seemed as if the producer's were trying to cut down on costs because the character she portrayed seemed so vaccuous at times, and I thought that was because of the actress. I was wrong. I've seen Andrea Thompson in other stuff and now know that her performance in this film was just a notch or two above everyone else, as she gave us the loner-chick in a leather coat. If she had played the character a little more light hearted the film might've benefittted some.

    The underlying theme of the story is the outcast phenomena that occurs with many teens, and the pitfalls they face when confronted with people who seemingly understand them (but only on a very superfical level), and the disastrous consequences of such interactions when their true aims are made manifest. It's a good morality play for adolescents, but even so the film lacks energy at points, and suffers some because of it.

    There're a few laughs here and there, and if you're a film fan who likes interesting characters and quirky films, then this may prove to be a bonafide masterpiece for your collection. Otherwise, even though I enjoyed it, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, as the mixture of off-beat comedy with teen angst strives for a goal that's a bit too ambitious for another otherwise fairly good film. Overall the comedy rides a low sine wave; some of the laughs are good, others not as much.
  • From the normal teen who thinks he's abnormal to the point that his exploration of his "strangeness" makes him strange, to the truly strange couple who are convinced he is their leader from another world.

    Its a sci-fi, comedy and, though the humor is subtle, it is very enjoyable.

    Adam West was in top form as the real leader of the "alien" earthlings, and the nightclub singer was hilarious as he belted out the most ridiculous songs as if they were top ten hits. I think the subtlety of the humor might actually be what attracts me most to it.

    Definitely worth watching again and again.
  • I was an extra in the scene when the aliens shoot up the revolving restaurant. All of us extras met a bus in Hollywood and rode up to Palmdale where the filming for that scene was done. It was a night shoot, cold as hell as I remember.

    The scene as shot had paramedics hauling injured patrons out the front door of the hotel to a waiting ambulance. Hugh O'Brian's character came over to me, a uniformed cop, and asked for a ride downtown. We jumped in my police car and took off.

    The aliens ran to an old bus and took off, but for some reason the front axle of the bus broke just as they were filming and had to be manually pulled back in place.

    It was a fun gig, and all the actors were friendly and going along with it.

    Almost all of that scene got cut except for a panning shot that shows me with my back to the camera looking up and talking on a hand-held radio. (!)
  • I absolutely hated this movie! I was 9 when I saw it. It is the only movie I have ever walked out of in the theater. My mom, dad, and I all looked at each other during the movie and knew we were wasting our time. This movie stole approximately 45 minutes of my life. Everything about it was ridiculous. The entire premise was too warped. Being 9, I was always easily entertained. This movie proved that I couldn't subject myself to anything and still be entertained.
  • gridoon28 February 2003
    It's fairly obvious that this was the director's first film, as it is a bit disorganized and not quite as smoothly put together as it could have been. But it is equally obvious that the director had good intentions, and helped by an imaginative premise (weird, misunderstood kid believes he's an alien), he did make a likably eccentric film after all. At least it's better that the usual Golan-Globus stuff. (**1/2)