RV!: Leonard Part 6 (1987) Dir: Paul Weiland December 1987 Date Released: December 1987 Date Seen: July 18th, 2009 Rating: 0.75/5
The best way to watch Leonard Part 6 is to watch the first hour of it and then take a break--go get a pizza or something--come back and then try, just try to comprehend what you're looking at. The film's exquisite badness should unspool that much more aggressively like a skein of aggressively stupid nonsense: constant (Coke) product (Perrier) placement (LAVA SOAP)? Armpit heat-seeking missiles? Melted butter? Nude revue? Dish detergent? Andrew Lloyd Webber-inspired bird ballet? What. Just. Happened?
The answer is nobody knows, at least, certainly not Bill Cosby (and if he doesn't know best, I don't know who does).* The conservative comedian's usual schtick--a talented and tragically undermined father figure on the outs with his wife looks on in mock-despair as his daughter flaunts her ignorance and youth by making bad decision after bad decisions--is drowned out in the film's spastic caricature of spy film cliches. Even Cosby's patented poking fun of anyone that doesn't act like a responsible upper middle-class A-dult is warped into a whirlwind of gibberish replete with a black butler straight out of a minstrel show (he has a line about canceling the grits during an aborted romantic dinner Cosby's ex hosts) and a Magic Eastern-European, a cheeky but absolutely inexplicable inversion of the "Magic Negro" fictional arche/stereotype.**
This apparent lack of logic can be attributed to the whirlpool of graceless slapstick and weird half-baked ideas about what was the matter with James Bond at the time (the fact that the baddy's henchmen are all bulked-up vegetarian ballet dancers may have made sense at one time as a critique of their nature as meat puppets but in the film, it just looks very homo-erotic). I like to imagine that this is because the filmmakers involved had an insane creative sugar rush. They got so hyped-up on the fact that they could get away with something this silly that by the time they took their pizza break and came back down to Earth, they had already gone too far to turn back.
*Cosby, who wrote the original story for the film, infamously went on talk shows to warn people not to see it.
**She's got four pre-pubescent kids, speaks no English, lives in schoolbus surrounded by Russian Orthodox icons and reads Tarot cards. She also dispenses nonsensical advice and cryptic doodads for Cosby's missions (ballet slippers and a Queen bee, for starters).