When the president of the United States is kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a clone, the police call on Marshall ''Dick'' Dix of the International Security Force to he lp rescue him--and quickly, before they clone the rest of the world's leaders. With the f ate of the world in his clumsy hands, Dix heads to the planet Vegan, a very strange place run by an evil doctor and inhabited by aliens who, having learned to speak English from wa tching television, all talk like different movie stars. After engaging in some freaky lun ar socializing, Dix joins forces with sexy officer Cassandra Menage and master of disguise Captain di Pasquale to rescue the saxophone-playing presi dent. They return to Washington, D.C., and accomplish their mission of replacing the clon ed president with the real president. Or do they?
Directed by: Allan A. Goldstein
. Starring: Leslie Nielsen
, Ophélie Winter
, Ezio Greggio
, Peter Egan
, Alexandra Kamp
, Damien Masson
, Pierre Edwards
, David Fox
, Sam Stone
, Verona Pooth
, Michel Perron
, Paul Rainville
, Yvan Ducharme
. Music by: Claude Foisy
I found this movie in a bin of bargain-basement, second-hand videos. I seem to have a weakness for "spoofs." I liked the first Naked Gun (even though the cop sidekicks were better cast on TV's Police Squad), and rode out the two disappointing sequels. I tried but never got into the Airplane movies. I stuck with the increasingly thin, sophomoric Austin Powers films. I made it through Loaded Weapon, Scream, three Scary Movies, Not Another Teen Movie, and a series of Leslie Nielsen clunkers so lame that I did not think it could sink any lower - Repossessed; Dracula: Dead and Loving It; Spy Hard; Wrongfully Accused; and Mr. Magoo (by then, all a well-known film critic who had once praised Nielsen's comic talents had to say about him was that he was the "bozo du jour"). But Spy Hard is a masterpiece compared to "Travesty."
"Travesty" has enough budget and production values to not quite give away by its looks alone how bad a film it really is. The name of Nielsen's character -- Dick Dix -- is catchy (certainly better than Spy Hard's weak "Dick Steele, Agent WD-40"). Early on, there are a couple of laugh-out-loud moments: Dix being snapped back and forth from front to back of a space shuttle by the suspenders of his pants snagged on a seat, sending him flying head-first into a levitating anvil; and Dix crushed on top of someone and undergoing various contortions during a gravity-defying drop in a high-speed space elevator.
But the movie is a thin, slow-paced, forced, brain-dead mess. It does not even get Dix into space until it runs through an infantile "history of the universe" sequence (featuring the constellation "stifficus" and takeoffs on a "white dwarf," a "moon," and "aliens" (shots of Michael Jackson and Dennis Rodman)) and scenes that play like rejects from a bad Naked Gun movie. Dix is a "Marshal" with the "International Security Force" (whatever that is). His car radio is conveniently tuned to the local police frequency, and he butts in on a hostage situation at a fast-food joint. He goes from there to more unfunny, chaotic scenes at the "bull pen" of his D.C.-area headquarters.
You expect things to pick up when Dix is sent to a moonbase for humans and aliens to investigate a report that an evil doctor there is cloning and replacing world leaders. But almost immediately, it becomes clear that the film has nothing interesting to do in space. It sags and drags.
This is partly because of a cut-rate, no-name supporting cast which has zero rapport with Nielsen. The worst are a laid-back, jive-talking black dude and a hammy, low-rent, Italian-version Inspector Clouseau, neither of whom manage a single funny or even understandable line or action in the entire movie; and two unremarkable novice actresses who go through the motions with little or no apparent acting skill or characters to play (reviews that slobber over them need to get a life -- or take a look at any random actress starring in any major movie).
It is also because of crude, childish, labored, unfocused, rip-off gags that smother anything remotely funny. For example, Dix chases around after and makes a disgusting mess of the doctor's toupee; Dix tracks ink all over the white carpet and destroys an office; Dix gets hands and feet stuck on a door bearing a note written in glue; and so on. A disco scene is another loud, chaotic waste of time.
The movie even ruins the elevator scene by having Dix and the woman remain entangled long after the doors open, with him standing up and holding her upside down, facing him, so that she has to peer through his legs and he gets a "fart" in the face. The movie also sinks to this kind of "comedy" in the space shuttle bathroom; in sloppy mispronunciations by a French security guard ("backstage pss"; "no one will get pssed"; to musician, "you can blow your instrument with confidence knowing I will be here holding the frt"); and in the simple-minded gimmick, after the end credits roll, of disembodied sound effects with captions. None of this has anything to do with satire about space movies or anything else. It is cheap, junk "humor."
By the time Dix returns to Earth, the film has become unwatchable. What feels like the movie's last half, or more, slogs through desperate, disorganized, clumsy, endlessly drawn-out scenes at a Paris opera house, before a "world leaders' conference." Dix and his cohorts (wearing stupid, unfunny "disguises") and the villains take forever to reach and then fight in the control room for the stage, trying to keep their version of the U.S. President in place.
Along the way are senseless, tasteless jokes (Pavarotti's condoms?!?); quick cuts to bad impersonations of dignitaries or pop stars in the audience (the Pope is the worst); lame, obvious humor about the Clintons (he acts like a good-ol'-boy boor and she rolls her eyes); and frantic, loud, boring antics backstage and on stage. Cutaways to the increasingly embarrassing supporting cast and material, which by now have the movie in near-total meltdown, ruin an already forced bid for laughs with the "Three Tenors" singing "In the Navy." The movie limps to an end with a strained, tacked-on scene at a restaurant where one of the young women, who the movie never bothers to develop as a love interest, dines with Dix, who for no reason makes a mess.
Mindless, goofy, silly movies can be fun. But calling something a "parody," "satire," or "spoof" hardly makes it an automatic laugh riot. And any feeble effort that comes along is not worth recommending with the lazy, sloppy excuse "come on, this is supposed to be bad." It is no fun to watch a stand-up comedian die on stage, much less to watch it for 100 minutes. This pretty much sums up how it feels to watch "Travesty.".
Review by mysteriesfan from the Internet Movie Database.