Mac and Me: A Cult Classic Thanks To Paul Rudd

MAC in Mac and Me. Courtesy of MGM.

Mac and Me is a cult sci-fi comedy classic thanks to the genius of Paul Rudd showing it every time he was on Conan O’Brien’s show.

I’ll be honest in that I’ve been curious about this film for many years. It wasn’t until after watching In Search of Tomorrow this week that I finally decided to check the film out. Lo and behold, it is currently streaming on Prime Video. It’s certainly not a film that one generally thinks about when they think of movies. Nor should it be on anyone’s priority list. There are far better movies to watch if you ask me. If not for Paul Rudd, chances are also likely that nobody would remember it.

Mac and Me is the Kirkland E.T. according to Wil Wheaton. Wheaton certainly is not wrong in his comparison. It’s not unfair to say that this film is like the off-brand E.T. except it’s Coca-Cola and McDonald’s instead of Reese’s Pieces. The product placement is unforgiveable! There are aliens who get sucked into a ship and arrive on Earth and immediately escape. Instead of being left behind, one of their children is separated and jumps into the Cruise family car. Next thing you know, Eric (Jade Calegory) starts suspects MAC’s presence. All sorts of chaos ensues including the now-classic scene of Eric losing control of his wheelchair and falling into a lake. It’s only after Eric and Debbie (Lauren Stanley) trap MAC in a vacuum in which older brother Michael (Jonathan Ward) believes him. Soon, their mother, Janet (Christine Ebersole) will believe them, too.

At the end of the film, the aliens–now reunited–save Eric when he dies during the chaos outside of the grocery store. In the most ridiculous ending possible, the U.S. government grants them citizenship. It’s just…I do not even know what to say. One cannot help but drop their jaw after the earlier events of the film. The film becomes truly absurd when we see the father driving a car. Right after this, the film promises viewers a sequel. To this date, no sequel.

Say what you will about the film but Jade Calegory does a solid job in his feature film debut. Obviously, you can’t help but feel for his character with everything that happens to him. Falling off a cliff and later dying before being resuscitated.

On the surface, Mac and Me is a family-centered spoof of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Under no circumstance should it work. It was rushed into production with the script needing to be rewritten. Stewart Raffill got a phone call from a producer and was given instructions on what was wanted for the script. The director comments that Jade Calegory is exactly what they wanted for the film. However, Mac being a puppet is what made the film time-consuming. But for the filmmaker, he found it “a whole different world in writing for kids.” It destroyed Jade Calegory according to the filmmaker even though the film meant well. And yet, the scene where Jade loses control is a classic because of Paul Rudd. Ironically, Rudd’s first appearance promoting the film is when he’s on to promote the Friends finale. Jennifer Aniston is also in the film as an uncredited background dancer!

“He has singlehandedly kept that movie alive,” Stewart Raffill says in the documentary. “I would love to sit down with him and write a sequel to that movie with him starring in it with this creature.”

Are you listening, Paul Rudd? Stewart Raffill wants to make a sequel with you! Please do not let this opportunity pass you by!

Of course, Paul Rudd certainly couldn’t let CONAN come to an end without one final appearance.

Mac and Me is the type of film that is so bad that it’s good. Listen, it might have originally been an E.T. knockoff but at some point, this film just becomes its own thing. Behind the scenes, the film is not all that bad. A portion of proceeds went to the Ronald McDonald’s Childrens Charities. Well, whatever proceeds were actually made from this forgotten classic.

Stop what you’re doing and turn on Prime Video (or wherever Mac and Me is streaming when you read this) and just enjoy the ride. If you’re Paul Rudd’s agent, please get in touch with Stewart Raffill because I want to see this sequel happen. Who knows, maybe Chris Evans will also want to join in on the fun? MAKE MAC AND ME 2 HAPPEN!

DIRECTOR: Stewart Raffill
SCREENWRITERS: Stewart Raffill and Steve Feke
CAST: Christine Ebersole, Jonathan Ward, Tina Caspary, Lauren Stanley, and introducing Jade Calegory

Orion Pictures released Mac and Me in theaters on August 12, 1988. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.