‘My Stepmother Is An Alien’ Arrow Video Blu-Ray Review – Underrated ’80s Sci-Fi Comedy Is A Lighthearted Romp

He married a girl from out of town… Way out of town. Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters), Kim Basinger (The Nice Guys) and Jon Lovitz (Southland Tales) star in a fish-out-of-water comedy with a sci-fi twist that questions whether a romance between two star-crossed lovers who are literally worlds apart can ever work. When widowed astronomer Steve Mills (Aykroyd) inadvertently causes a gravitational disruption in deep space, a race of hyper-advanced alien lifeforms sends one of their own to investigate, disguised in the alluring human form of Celeste (Basinger). Tasked with seducing the lovelorn Steve in a bid to gain access to his scientific research, Celeste finds herself falling for the man she’s been sent to swindle. But they’ve not counted on Steve’s young daughter Jessie (Alyson Hannigan, TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who’s none too thrilled by the prospect of a new mother – especially not one from another planet. Funny and touching in equal measure, My Stepmother is an Alien is an offbeat and at times surprisingly risqué comedy that confirms the adage that what unites us is far greater than what divides us… even if what divides us happens to be an entire galaxy.

For thoughts on My Stepmother Is An Alien, please check out our discussion on The Video Attic here

Video Quality

My Stepmother Is An Alien comes to Blu-Ray from Arrow Video with a stellar 1080p transfer sourced from a 2K restoration from the original camera negative. This presentation is a knockout that preserves the filmic look with proper film grain and texture throughout. The only slightly lacking moments are during the composite effects shots, but that is by nature of the source and not a flaw with the transfer. The level of clarity and detail on this release is truly something to behold. There are very subtle details in the production design that are visible here for the first time from tiny details in the outfits to the décor of the house party. The black levels are extremely deep and allow for true detail to come through. Skin tones are natural and lend themselves to showcasing an amazing amount of detail. Arrow Video has done an excellent job of restoring this, as all print damage has been cleaned up without messing with the natural look of the film. Those who have been waiting for this one to be faithfully restored on Blu-Ray should feel it was worth the wait.

Audio Quality

The Blu-Ray comes with a LPCM 2.0 mono mix that sonically represents the film perfectly. The activity is dispersed skillfully in the front channels with some quality 80s pop hits bumping out and filling the room appropriately. Music is used notably throughout the presentation, but it never overpowers the dialogue or other important information. The classic dialogue from our main characters comes through clearly and never falls victim to any digital anomalies. Environmental activity is balanced well while giving some life to each distinct location with ambient sounds. There is a healthy amount of power in the mix when the scene calls for it, but it is not a standout feature of the film. This track accomplishes everything it needs to do really well.

Special Features

The first-pressing of the Arrow Video Blu-Ray of My Stepmother Is An Alien includes a booklet featuring the essay “A Family That Is Out Of This World!: The Changing Face of Family In My Stepmother Is An Alien” by film historian Amanda Reyes. This essay provides a great analysis of the period in which this film was released, the story and insight into the themes of the film. The on-disc special features are as follows: 

  • Audio Commentary #1: Author Bryan Reesman delivers a very informative and entertaining commentary track in which he discusses the influences of 1950s genre pictures, the special effects in the film, the careers of the cast and creatives involved with the picture, the clothing and hairstyles, the pop stars on the soundtrack, and much more that deepens your appreciation of the film. 
  • Cosmetic Encounters – Directing My Stepmother Is An Alien: A new 14-minute audio interview with director Richard Benjamin (actor known for The Last of Sheila and Diary of a Mad Housewife) in which he recalls what drew him to the project, the talents of Kim Basinger, his influences, the music in the film, the release and legacy of the film and more. 
  • Trailer: The 30-second trailer is provided here. 
  • Image Gallery: A collection of stills from the film are provided here. 

 

Final Thoughts

My Stepmother Is An Alien is the perfect type of high-concept comedy that thrived in the 1980s thanks to its confident execution. It is not one of the “classic” movies from the decade, but it deserves to be remembered more than it is. The performance from Kim Basinger is low-key one of the strongest from her early career, and the rest of the ensemble matches her energy beat for beat. The direction from Richard Benjamin is assured throughout with a strong sense of pacing and comedic timing. Arrow Video has released a Blu-Ray featuring a terrific A/V presentation and a decent selection of special features. If you are a fan of this occasionally silly subgenre, you should have a lot of fun with this one. Recommended 

My Stepmother Is An Alien is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray. 

Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.

Disclaimer: Arrow Video has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.