Reportedly, Denise Richards (recently seen in The World Is Not Enough) won't talk about Tammy and the T-Rex, her debut as a leading lady in a motion picture. Why won't she talk about it? It may have something to do with the fact that her character falls in love with a dinosaur -- but don't worry, she loves him for his mind.
Denise plays high school cheerleader Tammy, which allows for an opening scene set during cheerleading practice, which in turn gives her a chance to display her acting assets. Tammy is in love with football player named Michael (Paul Walker), though she is still stalked by her gang-leading ex-boyfriend Billy (George Pilgrim). Tammy also has a male best friend, Byron (Theo Forsett), who is both black and gay -- that's right folks, he's two, two, two stereotypes in one!
When Billy catches Michael and Tammy together, he does what any surly, jealous ex-boyfriend would do: he drags Michael off to the wild animal park and strands him in the vicinity of some hungry lions, where he is mauled, but not quite fatally. Hurriedly slapping on her sluttiest outfit, Tammy rushes to Michael's hospital bed, only to be greeted by a mad scientist, Dr. Wachenstein (Terry Kiser). Unbeknownst to Tammy, Wachenstein is experimenting with robot bodies and has decided that he wants to transplant Michael's brain into his newest experiment. The next thing she knows, she's slapping on her second sluttiest outfit to rush to Michael's funeral.
"Paul Verhoven wants to put me
in another movie!"
Michael wakes up in his new body and, as would only be natural for someone in his position, he goes on a killing spree. This culminates in a party scene in which Michael goes to town on Billy's gang. Soon the killing grows old, so Michael kidnaps Tammy. Once Tammy figures out that Michael has undergone the Godzilla treatment, the race is on to find Michael a new body so that his brain can reside in receptacle more suited to loving Tammy in the way she needs to be loved. The balance of the film comprises many scenes in which Tammy and her T-Rex run from the evil doctor and/or the town sheriff. Incidentally, Sheriff Black happens to be Byron's father, therefore adding another stereotype to Byron's repertoire: the misunderstood son of the sheriff.
Tammy and the T-Rex is supposed to be madcap comedy, but the absence of any jokes disqualifies it from the category of comedy. We're supposed to laugh at the shallowest stereotypes (Byron is gay and very effeminate and cowardly, Wachenstein is German and constantly exchanges double entendres with his assistant Helga) and low-rent pratfalls. Of course, the concept that Tammy might be sleeping with a dinosaur carries most of the "humor" during the film's last act. The only thing that's really funny is watching the film with the knowledge that Denise Richards would go on to be a star. The absurd ending carries no irony, and we suspect that the film's original script had a different conclusion in mind for our star-cross'd lovers.
"We are gathered here to mourn the
passing of good taste."
The film is extremely low budget, so don't expect much in the way of dinosaur effects. The T-Rex is played by a full-sized prop most of the time, but it isn't a movie prop. It's one of those animatronic dinosaurs that show up periodically at science centers. As such, the T-Rex can't do much more than move its head a little. In that way, it's a lot like George Clooney playing Batman. In order to make the otherwise static dinosaur interact with the actors some very unconvincing T-rex gloves and boots are also used. It's a good thing, too: without those gloves, Mike's stubby little t-rex arms would be too short to reach the telephone he uses shortly after his escape. Dinosaur lovers will either sob in despair at the mistakes or have a great time picking the details apart.
Let's face it, the only reason anyone would watch this movie is because Denise Richards is in it. How does she acquit herself under these trying circumstances? Well, let's just say that comedy has never been her forte. To make up for her lack of wit, the producers dress Richards up in some pretty funny outfits. Tammy can't afford to shop at Tramps-R-Us, so she goes to Sluts-B-Used. If this film were made in the Eighties, we could at least understand the sub-Madonna look, but this film was made in the Nineties. People knew better by then. Didn't they?
"I just want to be taken seriously
as an actress!"