The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is a 1987 American live action film adaptation of the then-popular series of children's trading cards. It was produced, directed, and co-written by Rod Amateau and is the last film to be directed by Amateau before his retirement and subsequent death in 2003.
For those who don't know, the cards were a parody of the popular Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and each card featured a character that typically had a gross habit, abnormality, or suffered a terrible fate. The film depicted many of the Garbage Pail Kids (played by dwarf actors in costumes) interacting with society and befriending a regular boy.
A garbage can spacecraft is seen flying near Earth. The same garbage can is then shown inside an antique shop owned by Captain Manzini. A boy named Dodger is being assaulted by four bullies in a park. Juice, the leader, steals Dodger's money and drops him in a puddle. Dodger goes to Manzini's antique shop where he works. Manzini takes Dodger's clothes and cleans them while warning him to stay away from the garbage can. Later, Dodger sees Tangerine, Juice's girlfriend, who seems to be the most compassionate one towards Dodger, and tries to persuade her to buy something. Dodger is attracted to Tangerine and covertly smells her hair while she is distracted. The other bullies enter the shop and attempt to rough up Dodger again, but he manages to outwit them. However, amidst the tussle, the garbage can is knocked over. The bullies then bring Dodger into a sewer, handcuff him to a rail, and open a sewage pipe on him. Dodger is saved by little mysterious people named the Garbage Pail Kids.
Manzini returns and is upset that the Garbage Pail Kids have been released from their can, but introduces Dodger to each of them: Greaser Greg is a leather jacket-clad greaser with a violent attitude; Messy Tessie is a girl with a constantly runny nose; Windy Winston is an insane boy who wears a Hawaiian shirt and often farts violently; Valerie Vomit is a girl who throws up on command; Foul Phil is a whining hungry baby with halitosis who constantly asks characters if they are his "mommy" or "daddy"; Nat Nerd is an obese acne-riddled boy who poorly dresses up like a superhero and wets his pants frequently; and Ali Gator, the group's natural leader, is an anthropomorphic half person/half alligator who has an appetite for human toes. Manzini explains that the kids are forbidden from going in public, because they'll be attacked by the "normies" (normal people), and that he can't get the kids to go back into the garbage can without magic.
The next day, Dodger goes with Tangerine to a night club where she sells clothes she designed herself. Dodger behaves awkwardly when Tangerine removes her shirt to sell it. Dodger then hides when Juice shows up. Meanwhile, the Kids then steal a Pepsi truck, flatten Juice's car with it, and then have a camp fire in an alley with stolen food. The next morning, the Garbage Pail Kids recover from hangovers and give Dodger a jacket they sewed. The jacket impresses Tangerine who asks Dodger to get more clothes so she can sell them. The Kids get bored and decide to wear disguises to go out in public. First they go to a theater playing The Three Stooges shorts and behave obnoxiously. Ali and Windy go to a bar where they start a fight with bikers, who are soon won over by the Kids' heroics, in which they celebrate with beers. The Kids make more clothes for Dodger after stealing a sewing machine and singing a song about working together. Tangerine sells the clothes and begins to prepare for a fashion show based on them. She meets the Kids and is repulsed by them, but realizes she can take advantage of their designs.
The night of the fashion show, Tangerine locks the Kids in the basement of the antique shop so that they don't escape, and soon, they are captured by Juice and his gang who bring them to the State Home for the Ugly, a prison where people too ugly for society are brought and executed. People there include the "too fat" Santa Claus, the "too bald" Gandhi, and the "too skinny" Abraham Lincoln. Manzini and Dodger help them escape and head to the fashion show. The Garbage Pail Kids trash the fashion show and rip the clothes off the models, while Dodger gets in a fight with Juice. Later that night, Tangerine apologizes to Dodger and asks to be his friend, but Dodger doesn't accept her apology for her greed. Captain tries to sing the Garbage Pail Kids' song backwards to coax them back into the garbage can, but the Kids sneak out and ride stolen ATVs away to cause more havoc.
Why It Sucks
- The Garbage Pail Kids are awkwardly characterized, often making immoral things and suddenly changing to good behavior (though in equally strange ways).
- Despite the title, the Garbage Pail Kids aren't so much as main characters as more of the supportive characters of the film. The film focuses more on Dodger, Manzini, Tangerine and Juice.
- The masks of the Garbage Pail Kids' faces are horribly-made, with really bad-looking styles and mouths that sometimes never move. The worst offenders are Ali Gator and Valerie Vomit, since Ali Gator has his mouth open in the wide screens and Valerie has her eyes malfunctioning most of the time.
- It is highly inappropriate to even be a family film. The movie relies on mostly gross humor, based on sex, violence and adult content in general. Examples are the idea of a place called "The State Home for the Ugly" where ugly people is kept and later executed and Nat Nerd wetting his pants four times.
- Very bad editing. At one point in the day time when Tangerine takes Dodger a drive in her convertible, she answers this question at night: "So what do we do when we get here?"
- There is a completely pointless romantic subplot between Dodger and Tangerine.
- This movie is loaded with pointless scenes of the Garbage Pail Kids causing trouble around town, which serve no purpose other than being filler.
- Most of the voice acting for the Garbage Pail Kids is badly done.
- Decent acting by Anthony Newley (Captain Manzini) and Mackenzie Astin (Dodger).
- Decent voice acting by Kevin Thompson (Ali Gator).
- Dodger, Manzini and the Kids do rescue all the prisoners from The State Home for the Ugly.
- The ending song "You Can be a Garbage Pail Kid" is surprisingly kind of catchy.
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie was universally panned by critics and audiences alike. The film currently holds a rare 0% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 1.9 out of 10, but lacks a consensus. Caryn James of The New York Times stated in her review "The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is enough to make you believe in strict and faraway boarding schools." Felix Vasquez, Jr. of Cinema Crazed described it as "a terrible, terrible movie, but one that oddly warrants at least one viewing for the masochistic and morbidly curious."
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie grossed $661,512 domestically on its opening weekend and made a total gross of $1.6 million against its $1 million budget making it a box office bomb.
Awards and nominations
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie was nominated for four Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, but lost to Leonard Part 6.
- The main reason for the huge amount of adult content in the movie is because this was originally meant to be a horror film about Garbage Pail Kids born from broken dolls when a radioactive sludge finds its way into a bunch of garbage cans filled with said broken dolls, turning them into serial killers. For some unexplained reason they decided to turn the movie into a family film, while still leaving the script unaltered regarding the presence of highly inappropriate content for kids.
- The movie is Doug Walker's #1 most hated movie. He considers it to be the #1 worst film he's reviewed as The Nostalgia Critic due to the poorly written story, unexplained scenes, way too much padding and how highly inappropriate and painful this film is.
- Due to the extreme lack of success, plans for a sequel and a remake were cancelled.
- In an interview years later, Mackenzie Astin (Dodger) and Arturo Gil (Windy Winston) both criticized the film (though Gil said he thought the film was laughable).
- WatchMojo.com has pointed out that the film was so grotesque and inappropriate that it was pulled from theaters.