Lionsgate // 1990 // 84 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 14th, 2009
The Devil's back. But he's never dealt with an exorcist like this.
Back in the heyday of spoof comedies, when Leslie Nielsen was the go-to guy, this take-off on The Exorcist arrived with all the momentum of a poorly pressurized split-pea soup blaster.
Linda Blair sort of reprises her role from the Exorcist films as a woman who had been possessed by a demon when she was a girl and freed from her hellish prison by a hapless priest (Leslie Nielsen, The Naked Gun). Now she's got a family and a life and, wait, here comes the devil again, who possesses her through the television and it's the head swiveling around, projectile vomit thing all over again.
Now it's time for a rematch and the hellish exorcism will take place in front of millions of viewers of a slimy televangelist's (Ned Beatty) show. Cheap gags ensue.
I have a little Repossessed story. Back in the early '90s, when this was making the VHS rounds, I had foolishly convinced my father this would undoubtedly be hilarious because, you know, Leslie Nielsen was in it and he was hilarious in the Naked Gun movies. That was one of my first lessons in separating the actor from the script because Repossessed is about as funny as a hysterectomy. One of the first scenes in the movie is a dumb gag where Leslie Nielsen tells a flirtatious student to pull down her dress and she instead yanks down her sweater exposing her bare breasts, which, I can assure you, came as quite a shock to me, my dad, and my elementary-aged younger brother. Ah, PG-13 rating in the '90s, you were so loose in your restrictions.
It's not easy to make a consistently funny spoof movie. When rapid-fire gag theory is what you've based your entire production on, you better be hitting a solid majority of those jokes. Repossessed doesn't even come close to a favorable laugh profit margin. But not for lack of trying. Writer/director Bob Logan works hard at cramming in as many gags as humanly possible, but they rarely work. Like you've got the guy receiving fellatio from his girlfriend on an elevator and Linda Blair asks him "Are you getting off?" Get it? (Note: if you laughed out loud at that retelling of the gag then perhaps you'll find value in this movie.)
It doesn't help that a large portion of these jokes are based in pop culture of the '80s and '90s. For example, you'll get gags on that Rob Lowe home video, Oliver North, Pee Wee Herman, The Love Boat, and Sean Penn's temper. In fact, there's even a Ted Kennedy Chappaquiddick joke! This of course leaves me with the inevitable conclusion that Repossessed is the Disaster Movie of 1990.
As a proud member of Lionsgate's "Lost Collection," Repossessed receives a dull, full frame transfer, a flat 5.1 surround mix, and a no-frills trivia track.
The power of common sense compels you to ignore Repossessed.
Guilty. Back to comedy hell with you.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 1990
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Trivia Track