The Film Crew: Wild Women of Wongo

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 provoked such unending cult rapture that its resurrection in some form was inevitable. But the reunion of key figures Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett in the DVD series The Film Crew proves to work better on paper than in reality. Here, they’re faced with the hilarious Wild Women of Wongo, in which a group of ugly cavemen are coupled with beautiful women. They in turn encounter a group of handsome cavemen saddled with ugly women. Some extremely convoluted politics later (punctuated by the ludicrous exhortations of some kind of high-priestess figure) and it’s pretty much agreed that ugly and beautiful should stick with their kind. Plot, of course, is secondary to threadbare cheesecake/beefcake fantasising and any pretence to credibility is exposed by the bargain basement cheapness of the whole enterprise. The film is a riot and the jokes ought to write themselves but the trio don’t exactly knock themselves out trying. The constant familiar themes are a) "he looks/acts like a girl,” b) "that’s so gay” and c) "he/she looks like a celebrity if you squint real hard,” and while these were hallmarks of MST3K, they were offset by a brutal wit that made you forget it. Here, the tired standbys are the only thing in the crew’s arsenal and it makes them look less like all-knowing smart alecks than overgrown schoolboys killing time. In fact, the film would be a great deal funnier if you didn’t have the Film Crew slapping you out of its florid ridiculousness with banal jokes. Given some low cunning and a fifth of Jack, you and your friends could probably do better. Extras are essentially deleted scenes from the unfunny bookends and the even less funny mid-film interlude: they dance to the priestess’s orders and "say goodbye, Wongo style” to no visible effect. (Shout! Factory)