I don’t know what the hell happened to Mel Brooks. After making some of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, he just sort of petered out beginning with this one. Then came Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and finally Life Stinks, which stunk. As for the others … something about the formula just didn’t come together. I’m not really sure why, just as I’m not sure why this one didn’t really work. I mean, I kept getting the feeling that it was funny, but I wasn’t laughing. Isn’t that weird?
For one thing, he could have used a better editor. A lot of the scenes kept playing on after we got the joke. He could also have used a better set designer. One of the reasons Young Frankenstein was such a masterpiece was that it looked like a Frankenstein film from the ‘40s. This one doesn’t look like much of anything. There are plenty of funny ideas, lots of good one-liners, and a running gag about selling every possible Spaceballs tie-in that nicely spoofed the huge number of Star Wars things. Yet too many of the gags lay an egg. Another problem, frankly, is Bill Pullman in the Harrison Ford part. He just can’t pull it off, and he can’t spoof it. And where was R2-D2? You’d think Mel could have written a part for him, maybe an animated garbage can.