July 3, 2000

Ice Cream Man (1995)

"Poor Gregory! After being released from the Wishing Well Sanatorium, all he wants to do is make the children happy. So Gregory reopens the old ice cream factory, and all the unappreciative brats are reprocessed into the flavor of the day!"

When I saw the cast list I had high expectations. Apart from the lead Clint Howard (who I've never heard of but is supposedly the brother of Richie Cunningham from "Happy Days"), this film also has Sandahl Bergman (the fanciable blonde one from "Conan The Barbarian"), Olivia Hussey (who played Johnboy Walton's girlfriend Audra in Stephen King's "It"), David Naughton ("American Werewolf"), Jan-Michael Vincent ("Airwolf") and even veteran horror actor David Warner (but it's not him who loses his head this time!).

The problem is that this film also stars lots of little kids (yuk!). Sometimes kids do a good job. The ones in Stephen King's "It" were exceptional, the ones in "Salem's Lot" varied from scary to embarrassing. So, as I watched this, I felt another "Goonies" coming on but fortunately it wasn't quite that crap. They do try to form a little "Goonies" style gang at one point but it doesn't really amount to the kind of Disney-esque awfulness that it could have become.

"Ice Cream Man" is unfortunately a horror-comedy. I hate those! Unintentionally funny is one thing but to try and use straight actors in comedy roles is always doomed to failure. All I could think of was "What a waste!" every time one of those half-decent actors appeared.

Also, in 1995, kids weren't all accusing everybody over the age of 25 of being pedoes like they are now. The political climate has now changed and I imagine if this was remade today, the comedy aspect of this would have been shelved and a much darker movie would come of it.

I can't stand kids myself, I certainly could never eat a whole one, but the "Ice Cream Man" amused me by slicing and dicing a few of them up and mixing them in with his soft scoop. Even David Naughton ended up with his head on a cone which beats having a stale flake in your "99" anytime.

There are two things to look out for in this film should you be silly enough to watch it. First, look at the huge amount of Converse plimsoles worn by all the actors. Yes, Converse sponsored the movie so you'll see all those Chuck Taylor High-tops everywhere! Second, look at the "fat kid" called "Tuna" (yes, a stupid name). He isn't actually a fat kid! He's wearing padding to make him look fat. This of course has a purpose later but how lame is it not to have a real fat kid playing the fat kid? It's not as if America isn't full of the fast-food gobbling jelly-bellies! Hey Fatty Boom Boom, my sweet sugar dumplin'...

But anyway, I really wish that this had been a straight kiddy-killing ice cream man movie not a stupid comedy which isn't all that funny. As such I can only give it a 2 out of 10. I still liked some of the more gory moments though.

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