The U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service is hot on the trail of a pair of hard-working aliens—only these aliens are from another planet. [ Coneheads credits: Dir: Steve Barron/ Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Michelle Burke/ 87 min/ Comedy, SciFi-Fantasy/ Pro-Immigration]
“If they’re just visiting, [then they’re the Air Force’s responsibility]. But the moment they try to work here, they’re mine!” So says the power-hungry INS bureaucrat, whose ambitious ideas for immigration control include, among other things, a border device that electrocutes immigrants crossing illegally. He and his yes-man sidekick are portrayed as ludicrous and self-serving. The hard-working “aliens,” on the other hand, are worshipped by their employers as dream employees.
Not that these aliens are beneficent at first. They initially come here with the assignment of enslaving the planet. But after they survive the crash of their space cruiser (shot down by the Air Force), middle-class American life gradually wins them over. Their experience becomes in many ways similar to that of other illegal immigrants. They work, progress, and blend in, all the while playing a game of cat and mouse with the INS. Ultimately, they settle into a typical middle-class suburban existence. But these aliens must have one final interplanetary showdown with the INS before being allowed to completely settle in to their American dream.
What a terrific pro-immigrant, anti-INS film! Another plus is that the film also makes a small plug for a Star Wars defense system, as the belief that we have such a system plays a decisive role in deterring alien invasion.
The highly original Coneheads characters were developed on Saturday Night Live and almost the entire cast consists of some of the best former SNL players. It’s an upbeat, hilarious film, especially likely to appeal to recent immigrants.
“Coneheads is a sweet, funny anarchic pastiche that should find broad based popularity.”