FRYEAN MYTHOS: *comedy*CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: *sociological*
I watched both of these films purely to fulfill a couple of completist urges.
In the case of THE LEMON GROVE KIDS MEET THE MONSTERS, the completism had to do with my general liking for "monster mashes." LEMON, a little over an hour long, is a compilation of three short bargain-basement films by Ray Dennis Steckler, the first of which Steckler made with the idea of using it as a television-series pilot. When this attempt failed, the shorts were apparently shown as matinee attractions in theaters.
The "Lemon Grove Kids" of the title are a bunch of adults who have juvenile adventures in a suburban community. Steckler, who plays the goofy character "Gopher," made the shorts in homage to the Bowery Boys, a B-film series that came about when the once teenaged "Dead End Kids" had all become a gang of dopey adults. Steckler goes to great effort to channel Huntz Hall of the Bowery Boys, mugging and pulling faces, but he doesn't quite have Hall's gift for comedy.
Two of the three shorts have no real metaphenomenal content, though of these two, one sees a creepy-looking mummy, a superhero, and a lady-napping ape, before one finds out that they're all actors in costumes. The middle short, "The Green Grasshopper and the Vampire Lady from Outer Space," has the Kids seeking to ferret out the source of a vampire plague in their community. If I understood the script correctly, the villains are the Grasshopper and the Vampire, and I guess they're both supposed to be aliens, though they look nothing like one another.
There are a couple of decent jokes in this amateurish production, the best being one where the Vampire Lady bites Gopher, so he gets mad and-- bites her back! At least that was something I'd never seen before in a vampire movie.
I watched 2009's G-FORCE for no reason but superhero-film completism, since someone somewhere claimed that this kid-flick qualified for that category. I disagree. Although the Force is made up of intelligent guinea pigs who are given the power to communicate with people via technology, and although they get involved in a villain's world-conquering scheme, it's my determination that "real superheroes" have to have some significant level of power, even if it's just the ability to predict the future or the like. But one line in the film even admits that the guinea pigs have been given no enhancements beyond the talking-ability, and though they prevent the villain's plan-- largely because he's an animal like themselves-- these particular funny animals don't deserve the sobeiquet of superheroes.
Also, what humor there is is extremely routine and is designed only for very small children.