"The Stupids" lives up to its title all too faithfully. When the filmmakers "put the dumb back into the stupid," as the film's ads say, they forgot to add "the humor."
It's so lifeless, so mechanical--despite a game cast--that animation probably would have been the best way to bring the popular children's books to the screen. In any event, the first show Friday at a Century City theater, which had a scattering of children in the audience, yielded, by careful count, exactly three full-fledged laughs.
Living in a neo-Victorian home in a suburban tract with his wife (Jessica Lundy) and two children (Bug Hall, Alex McKenna), Stanley Stupid (Tom Arnold) becomes obsessed because someone is stealing his garbage. That it proves to be just the garbage collectors doing their job is the something-less-than-thigh-slapping device by which writer Brent Forrester, who has written for "The Simpsons," propels the Stupids into a series of adventures.
The adventures are beneath description but have to do with a rogue colonel (Mark Metcalf) involved in a covert weapons deal and Stanley's confusion between a good guy (Bob Keeshan, TV's beloved Captain Kangaroo) and a bad guy (horror legend Christopher Lee, no less).