The second movie in my USA Up All Night! series, and the second movie broadcast that first wonderful night is called Stuck On You! and was chosen, as best I can figure, as an endurance test for the 1989 television audience and a challenge to me personally for choosing to do this.
Someone, an angel, I assume, tells God that there’s a problem on earth that they can help with. He doesn’t bother to explain what that problem is, only that Gabriel is the only one around to send, and he’ll probably mess it up. Oh, well. Send him anyway. “After all,” says God. “You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.”
And then, the cartoon hand of God spins the earth, turns it into an egg, which immediately cracks and births a chicken.
What follows makes an equal amount of sense. And is almost as funny.
Bill and Carol are suing each other for palimony after the dissolution of their POSSLQ situation. Carol punches Bill and the whole courtroom erupts into chaos. There’s a golfer with a club wrapped around his neck, arguing with another golfer, cheerleaders, bowlers, tennis players, a nun gut punching a priest, and a courtroom filled with people who have the word “palimony” taped to their mouths to reinforce Judge Gabriel’s assertion that it’s a word that’s on everyone’s lips these days.
I could present you with example after example of what, I think, are supposed to be jokes, but none of them are better than that one and besides, this movie isn’t about jokes. It isn’t even about love, as it purports to be. No. Stuck on You! is an indictment of the legal system and a condemnation of activist judges.
Judge Gabriel, takes these two into his chambers and proceeds lecture them on the history of love. His use of flashbacks to cavemen, Romans, Columbus, Attila the Hun, Michelangelo, and more to elucidate any number of unclear points, combined with his use of a Barbie and a Ken doll that he makes fight each, and interspersed with Bill and Carol explaining their relationship and what went wrong, also through flashbacks whose primary intent may well have been comedy. Much of it involved Bill’s work at a poultry plant and his desire to increase egg production.
It was clear from the start that Judge Gabriel had no control over the proceedings in his court room. The overcrowded and raucous atmosphere, the filmmaker’s clear indictment of televised courtroom programs of the day, like the People’s Court, and a warning agains the type of media exploitation of the legal process we would see a decade later during the O.J. Simpson trial.
And Gabriel, demonstrating a total lack of understanding of a judge’s role in legal proceedings or a disregard for what was being asked of him as a judge in a palimony suit, took it upon himself to try to get Bill and Carol to see the value of their love for one another and push them into each other’s arms, and thus earning his wings.
Regardless of the underpinnings of Gabriel’s actions, his motives never changed. Bastardize the legal process for his own personal gains. No thought was given to whether these two people should be together. In fact, no instruction was ever given that this was the intent of God or his angel-advisor. As far as the audience knows, Gabriel might be forcing together two people who will give birth to the anti-Christ. Which, also might have been God’s intent here. It’s very hard to say.
What is easy to say, however, is that through Gabriel’s over-reach as a family court judge, anyone awake between 1:00-3:00 am on January 8, 1989 and watching USA was subjected to possibly the worst movie ever made.
The only thing that saved this experience for those viewers is that Cheerleader Beach Party came on both before and after Stuck On You!.