Rating: (3 out of 5) Saturday, 10/15/2011, 5:00 PM Feature presentation, $12 at Globe Theatre
SOMEWHERE NEAR SATURN’S furthest rings orbits Zots, a planet of bald-headed female denizens are encountering a profound eco-crisis: their huge feelings of love are destroying the ozone layer. Three of their citizens — Zoinx, Zylar and Barr — are dispatched to earth to court and fall in love with Earthling females, so that they might experience the crushing blow of an inevitable breakup. Only this will make the Zots safe again.
Absurd? Absolutely. But that’s the point behind what’s surely one of the most bizarre, offbeat features in this year’s festival. A parody of ’50s Z-grade sci-fi movies, Madeleine Olnek’s comedy is spry, original and oddly compelling. Filmed in shimmering black and white, the movie is reminiscent of Kevin Smith’s Clerks and Woody Allen’s Manhattan, but also fits the Ed Wood framework perfectly.
The film is too long by a half an hour — a lame, uninvolving subplot involving two government agents could be excised entirely — and its “deliberately cheesy” tone may exasperate those looking for something a little more polished. But the film casts its own nutty spell, and the performances of Cythia Kaplan as Barr, Jackie Monhan as Zylar and Susan Ziegler as Zonix are spun from comedic gold. Yeah, they’re shamelessly copping from the Coneheads, but Ziegler, in particular, has infallible comic timing. The woman knows how to get a laugh — even by simply laughing herself.
Codependent Space Aliens is propelled by a lesbian relationship embarked upon by Zoinx and Jane (Lisa Haas), a frumpy greeting-card shop clerk. The relationship eventually overshadows the movie, driving it to a logical (and colorful) conclusion. (“I should have known you were from outer space,” Jane ultimately confesses. “I did wonder about the gills.”)
The funniest moments come out of nowhere — the aliens watch a revolving dessert display in a diner as though gazing upon a national monument. The saucer-eyed Zylar, in an attempt to seduce a potential flame, drily notes, “I have no hair on my head, but the pavement matches the concrete.”
Codependent Space Alien may not be perfect, but it’s good for a relaxing, thought-free laugh. And it would take a real grouch not to find delight in Ziegler’s masterful — and possibly star-making — performance.
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