The Lawnmower Man | Bad Movie Review

The Lawnmower Man is based off of a short story by Stephen King about a guy who cuts grass, gets naked and eats the grass, then murders the man whose grass he was cutting.  The Lawnmower Man movie is about a scientist who uses virtual reality to boost the brain power of a developmentally delayed lawn care technician. Needless to say they had to take a lot of liberties to make this a commercially viable movie. In the filmmakers defense, there is a man who mows the lawn so they are basically telling the same story.


Pierce Brosnan:  Dr. Lawrence Angelo – Laid back hippie scientist just trying to play God…
Jeff Fahey:  Jobe Smith – God
Jenny Wright:  Marnie Burke – The town bicycle
Mark Bringelson:  Sebastian Timms – Smooth as a seal lapdog for The Shop
Dean Norris:  The Director – Hey guys!  Dean Norris is in this movie!  We love you Hank!

Lawnmower Man Review

New Line Cinema
Nintendo Never forget.

Lawnmower man begins at Virtual Space Industries where Dr. Angelo is using virtual reality to increase the brain power of chimpanzees.  The government of course has other plans and wants to use them as soldiers because the government has obviously never seen Planet of the Apes.

20th Century Fox Eww. Not this one.

The virtual reality sequences have not aged terribly well and the graphics are just a step up or sideways from the Atari Jaguar.  The chimp is basically playing a first person shooter and it somehow makes him a super soldier. He of course escapes and with his VR suit and helmet he kind of resembles a hairy RoboCop. The director ultimately decided to make this sequence look ridiculous and made the bold choice to show the camera angle from just above the monkey’s apes head.

New Line Cinema Imagine this with adorable chimp babbling and it loses any sense of danger.

VSI seems like a pretty understanding company because the only punishment Dr. Angelo receives is a paid leave of absence.  At my job I will have my pay docked if I don’t cover my food in the microwave.

“Virtual reality holds the key to the evolution of the human mind.” – Dr. Angelo

This movie had a very optimistic view of how virtual reality was going to change the world.  If only the 80’s knew that we would one day be able to make VR glasses out of a cardboard box.  They would probably shit in their hammer pants.

Which would be unfortunate because the feces would just pool at the bottom.

We meet Jobe, a sweet simpleton landscaper who lives in a shack and gets abused daily by Father McKeen.  I’m gonna make a prediction and say that Father McKeen suffers absolutely no repercussions and lives a quiet and unassuming life.  We also learn that Jobe is good with machines because he builds a lawnmower that, honestly, looks like it creates way more work and it looks unwieldy as shit.

New Line Cinema Now to spend 3 hours raking up grass clippings.

Jobe is friends with Dr. Angelo’s neighbor, Peter, whose father is an alcoholic, abusive piece of shit. My second prediction is that Peter’s father sees the pain and hardship that he’s causing and decides that this time he’s going to make it right.  He then begins writing in a dream journal and eventually invents the Pay It Forward movement.

Dr Angelo needs to finish his research on a human subject so he approaches Jobe and asks him if he likes games because he has a really fun game in his basement.  While in the basement Dr Angelo asks Jobe if he’s good at keeping secrets.  Hold on, let me fast forward this movie a bit….ok guys, good news:  Dr. Angelo does not molest Jobe!  He merely wants to use Jobe as his unwitting test subject and run dangerous untested procedures on him. Phew.

The testing in question seems to merely consist of injecting Jobe with drugs and flashing images really fast at him.  This somehow increases Jobe’s brain power at an accelerated rate.  Dr. Angelo gets permission to continue his research at his former lab…the lab that made him take a leave of absence because his monkey went on a rampage.  Does The Shop not realize that Jobe is like 5 monkeys put together. Dr Angelo says that he has gone as far as he can in his lab at home and that he needs access to the main lab to go further.

LAWNMOWER man spinning
New Line Cinema The treatment was missing one vital step: Constant spinning.

The treatment is going so well that Jobe finally develops enough brain power to be able to have sex with the town slut.  Oh, and he develops telekinesis and mind control.  Ya know, standard virtual reality side effects.

LAWNMOWER Man Telekinetic
New Line Cinema I can mow the grass with my mind but it’s gonna look like shit

Job then decides to sneak his girlfriend, Marnie, into the VSI lab and have weird beast mode VR sex. And how is he able to sneak into this high security facility, you might ask?  Because VSI is the shittiest top secret government facility ever.  I mean, this is the same organization that got their asses handed to them by a monkey in a laser tag outfit.

While Jobe and Marnie are busy telling secrets in the VR world, Jobe gets carried away and turns into a virtual monster and projectile vomits pure simulated evil on Marnie and it essentially breaks her brain.  He of course blames Dr. Angelo, because why not?

lawnmower man vomit
New Line Cinema The hell am I even looking at here?

Dr. Angelo goes to DC to meet with The Shop and when they find out that Job has these abilities they try to kidnap Dr Angelo.  Not Jobe, but the Dr. who has zero control over Jobe.  They already have Angelo’s research so they don’t need him for anything.

Back at home Jobe goes into full on revenge mode.  First he sets the priest on “fire”.

New Line Cinema

The he doles out what for on the jerk who runs the gas station by Lawnmower man…ning his brain.

New Line Cinema


And then a mower to the face for Peter’s dad.

New Line Cinema Now that’s how you lawnmower man someone

The Shop agents show up at Dr. Angelo’s house and Jobe projects a giant floating head on the front lawn.  Is this movie suggesting that we are actually living in a VR simulation like The Matrix because otherwise Jobe shouldn’t be able to do half these things.

LAWNMOWER MAN Floating_head
New Line Cinema I’m sure the sequel will explain all of this.

Jobe then reveals his plan which every screenwriter loves: hacking into the mainframe at VSI.  Once you hack into the mainframe then you can control everything.  Ya gotta protect the mainframe.

Jobe leaves Dr. Angelo tied up in his basement and lucky for him that Peter’s mom is a terrible mother, because she allows Peter to wander around the neighbor’s house in the middle of the night.

New Line Cinema “Hey, Dr. Angelo, did you know that they’re are 2 dead agents on your lawn? Anyways, my mom sent me over to see if you wanted any cookies that she just made.”

Dr Angelo, Peter and Peter’s race to VSI in order to stop Jobe.  Wait.  Why does he need Peter and his mom to go with him?  What possible help could they be? Also, what kind of a mother takes her son with her to go stop a deranged super villain?  Good parenting…Deb…or whatever your character’s name is.

New Line Cinema “Mom, I have to be at school in 3 hours.”“Hush up now, Peter. We’re going on an adventure.”

Jobe gets into the VR machine and is able to send his…essence into the simulation leaving behind a shriveled husk.  Basically, the 1980’s thought that virtual reality was magic.

New Line Cinema I mean, seriously, what is the science behind this.
New Line Cinema I have the unlimited power that only a computer program written in the 80’s can provide. I. Am. A God.

Basically all Dr. Angelo has to do is set the bombs and run and then roll credits.  I sure hope there aren’t any pesky kids running around to throw a wrench in the whole plan.

LAWNMOWER MAN_tanning_mom_Done
New Line Cinema She is like Tanning Mom, Balloon Boy’s Parents and Lindsay Lohan’s dad all rolled into one.

Jobe tries to hack the mainframe but keeps getting Access Denied errors.  They must have piped in through the main firewall while bypassing the main binary hub in order to splice into the DARPAnet while using a back door into the  com mode.  Ya know, basic hacker stuff.   Dr Angelo enters the simulation also in order to…I’m not sure why he entered the simulation.  If Dr Angelo is just going to blow up the “mainframe” then why does he need to go in at all?

Peter runs into the building and immediately gets lost because he’s a kid and kids are stupid. Jobe decides he doesn’t want anymore death and he lets Dr Angelo go to save Peter before the bomb goes off.  At the last possible second Jobe manages to reroute the T1 line into the GUI interface in order to find a backdoor through the central hub firewall.  The hacking in this movie is sick, son!

LAWNMOWER Man access granted
New Line Cinema Accurate visual representation of resetting a router.

Dr. Angelo is back at home and is taking his work underground when Jobe’s sets his evil plan into motion by…making all of the phones ring.  Has he become an omniscient telemarketer?  Because that would be terrifying as shit.  I can’t wait for the sequel.  The Lawnmower Man 2: He Knows When You’ve Just Sat Down For Dinner.


If you enjoyed this review of Lawnmower Man, be sure to check out my other reviews of Mac and Me | Distracted Movie Review and Children of the Corn | Distracted Movie Review.

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