1996 | Color | 92min
Starring: Paul Fusco, William O’Leary, Jensen Daggett, Miguel Ferrer (Really?), Ed Begley, Jr. (Seriously?!?), and Martin Sheen (WTF?!?)
Directed By: Dick Lowry
I’m afraid I have something to confess to you, my loyal readers. It is something which I am somewhat hesitant to admit because I am not sure exactly how you will react. You may think differently of me, or you may even decide to never visit this site again, and that’s okay. I have come to accept this possibility because I simply refuse to live this lie any longer. I’m tired of hiding in the shadows, secretly fulfilling my dark urges. Yes my friends, the time has finally come for me to be honest with you and come out of the closet. You see, I am an ALF fan.
It’s true. It started at an early age and I can’t deny it any more. I mean, I know that the name of Alf’s home planet is Melmac. I know Alf’s real name is Gordon Shumway (Alf is just his slave name, which was forced on him by “Whitey”). When I hear the Bob Seger classic, “Old Time Rock and Roll,” I don’t think of Tom Cruise gadding about in his undies. No, I think of Alf lip-syncing into a pickle. And perhaps this explains why I seem to be—if the IMDB comments are any indication—one of the three or four people who actually enjoyed Project: ALF.
Produced for ABC in 1996, Project: ALF takes place six years after Alf was captured by the Alien Task Force on the final episode of the series. Since that time, Alf has been in military custody and has subsequently been subjected to all sorts of bizarre tests and experiments. Despite these less than ideal circumstances, Alf has adapted quite well to military life and has pretty much been given the run of his designated area of the base. In fact, everyone seems to enjoy having the little furball around. Everyone except Colonel Gilbert Milfoil (played by Martin Sheen, who gives his usual smuggier-than-thou performance). Col. Milfoil believes that his mother was driven insane as a result of experiments performed on her by extraterrestrials. Because of this belief, he has made it his mission to see that Alf is terminated. Look, you don’t mess with a man’s momma, especially when anal probes are involved.
The Colonel’s extreme disdain for Alf notwithstanding, the military decides to suspend all further testing on Alf and allow him to remain on the base under military watch. Angered by this decision, Col. Milfoil devises a plan to get rid of Alf without the consent of the higher-ups. Fortunately for Alf, two of his friends, Major Melissa Hill (Jensen Daggett) and Captain Rick Mullican (William O’Leary, probably best known as Tim Allen’s little brother on Home Improvement) catch wind of Col. Milfoil’s devious plan and decide to rescue Alf before any harm can come to him.
Of course once they manage to sneak Alf off of the base all sorts of wacky hijinks ensue as the three fugitives scoot across the country, all while narrowly avoiding the pursuing Col. Milfoil. The trio eventually reach their destination, the home of Dexter Moyers, an ex-NASA scientist who was forced out of the organization because of his willingness to talk about the existence of alien life. He agrees to help Rick and Melissa hide Alf from the military, but it seems Dexter (played by Miguel Ferrer, who gives a performance that is far better than an ALF movie has any right to expect) has plans of his own for our wisecracking extraterrestrial friend.
Like I said earlier, I really enjoyed this movie. Probably way more than I should have in fact. While the montage of psychological tests being performed on Alf is probably the highlight of the movie, there are some pretty good one-liners spread throughout. To my surprise I actually found myself laughing out loud on several occasions.
I think the biggest reason I like Project: ALF so much is because it is what it is, and doesn’t try to be anything else. It’s a lighthearted, made-for-TV movie about a furry, smart-ass, alien midget, and that’s it. It doesn’t try to break new comedic ground or change the way you think about life. Much like the series this film was based on, it just wants to tell a silly story and hopefully make you chuckle a few times along the way. Hey, sometimes that’s really all you need.
Reviewed by Derek Miller
Posted November 2, 2009
Alf at a strip bar. Try not to let your head explode.