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Bill Cosby, Gloria Foster, Joe Don Baker
Directed by Paul Weiland
Columbia Pictures 1987
Sony Home Entertainment 2005
85 minutes

Honestly, we really pushed to get a copy of Leonard Part 6, the 1987 Golden Raspberry Award winner for worst picture. Rumor even has it that Bill Cosby himself went around telling people not to go see this turkey. This could be true considering the man from Jell-O (registered trademark and so on) actually accepted his Razzie publicly on a Fox late night show back when everybody was trying to dethrone The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. There is such gleeful thrashing of this movie that it has become a legend.

So the question is not is this a good or a bad movie, the question is how bad is it? This is one of those infamous turkeys people happily boast having seen and even use in a game of one-upmanship when the discussion rolls around to worse movie ever made. This, do not forget, is the movie that beat out Ishtar for the worst movie Razzie or Golden Raspberry -and no, they were not named after past winner Halle Berry-in 1987. Bill Cosby also won, and accepted on television, the Razzie for worst actor, beating out Bruce the Shark in Jaws: the Revenge and legendary thespian and elocutionist Sylvester Stallone. He also was the co-winner for worst screenplay. That Gloria Foster (The Matrix) did not win as worst actress is only because Daryl Hannah committed career suicide that year with Wall Street. This turkey was also up for worst director (won by Norman Mailer).

So, how bad is this movie? As bad movies go, and for better or worse, it is not that bad. You can actually sit through it without too much pain, something that cannot be said for some Adam Sandler movies like Billy Madison.

The premise is probably what got the ball rolling. Secret agent Leonard Parker (Bill Cosby) is forced out of retirement because a vegetarian baddie named Medusa, played by scenery chewing Gloria Foster, has found a way to control animals and make them do her bidding in a quest for world domination of, you guessed it, vegetarians and animals. Add to this weird plot the fact Leonard is a successful restaurateur who wants to get back with his estranged wife and Leonard’s is dating someone old enough to be her grandfather and is the star in a stage production involving nudity (none visible in this movie aside from a bare back).

It could have been a very funny movie. Although the special effects for Leonard Part 6 are very basic, the idea of animals ganging up, attacking, and killing government agents is original. There are a couple of scenes with a killer rainbow trout and some killer frogs (who go under an agent’s car and hop it into the river) that are weirdly funny. The final scene, a spoof of the typical spy movie where the hero is a prisoner of the evildoer, involves killer lobsters and Leonard fending them off with the threat of melted butter and him beating the baddies by throwing hamburger patties at them (it seems they too were vegetarians).

Unfortunately, there are too many things wrong with this comedy to make it work. Leonard consults a very weird gipsy lady but the only thing weird about her is that she looks and sounds exactly like Simka on Taxi. The bit with Cosby dancing on pointes to fend off Medusa’s dancing minions is weird but not really funny aside from when he shaves the plumage off the dancer dressed like a wild turkey. The repeated scene with Leonard’s wife serving him supper by pouring it on him was funny at first but repeated too often the first time before being repeated again at the end of the movie.

As the horrible Ghost Dad also shows, Bill Cosby is not a great actor. He has, for some reason, come to the conclusion that the mugging and weird voice effects he uses on stage to great success will work as well on the large screen. Add to this the fact that all of the actors in this not funny movie seem to be sleepwalking through their scenes and that the director was probably busy doing something else at the time, and you have yourself a really bad movie.

If you are wondering about Leonard parts 1 to 5, not to worry. There is a moment in Leonard Part 6 where someone tells you the first 5 parts were confiscated by the government because of national security. This is highly interesting because Part 6 was released in 1987, just when communism was falling to its knees. Coincidence? Hey, a good conspiracy theory could be made from this.

Picture quality on this DVD release from Sony Home Entertainment is acceptable. A couple of the scenes at the beginning are a bit grainy but overall the master print of this movie survived the years (unfortunately ?). Much worse has been released on DVD picture quality wise. Leonard Part 6 is one of those movies you actually have to see once in your life and, weirdly enough, is the kind of movie you could probably show your kids on a rainy Sunday to keep them busy for a little more than an hour.

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