Taking as much inspiration from the gross-out comedies of the Farrelly brothers and the stoner antics of Cheech and Chong as Peter Jackson's DIY Kiwi splatterfest Bad Taste, Shae Sterling's Alien Addiction clearly has that earlier independent, low-budget classic in its sights.

The film, a shoestring budget sci-fi stoner comedy, was largely independent in its financing and features the same everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach to its story of a pair of blue aliens that crash land in a small town in New Zealand, befriending local munter Riko (Jackson).

It's a film of peculiar rhythms: its script appears to be at least partly improvised, and there's a general sense of easygoing silliness to the enterprise. That's complete contrast to its remarkably high production values - especially for an independent film made for less than a million dollars.

From the outset, your mileage with Alien Addiction will likely vary depending on your agreeability to the controversy-courting Jackson's rubber-faced, high pitched schtick and propensity for jokes that veer deeply into the crass and juvenile.


As an enormously broad stoner comedy, a certain lack of sophistication is largely to be expected, but the gags here will certainly grate some viewers, as the film at times feels closer to the Adam Sandler stable than anything else.

As a story, the film is a bit of a mess, with various plot threads that go nowhere and strange non-sequitirs that, perhaps intentionally, have the effect of blindsiding the viewer like a sledgehammer.

The film never really decides whether it wants Jackson's Riko to be the town fool or the coolest guy in the room, and often fluctuates between the two depending on what the scene requires.

Elsewhere, there's some fun to be had in Tom Sainsbury's nefarious but bumbling conspiracy theorist, while talented newcomer Harry Summerfield provides a dash of warmth to proceedings as Riko's softie best mate Rabbit.

The standout is clearly JoJo Waaka as Riko and Rabbit's sometime love-interest Jacinta - the actress, who passed away recently, shines all too briefly here, suggesting a wealth of true talent. It's a shame that Alien Addiction all too often reduces her character to a series of sizeist jokes that feel mean-spirited, rather than just a bit of fun.

It's a structurally messy, blunt and at times quite offensive work. But if it becomes a stoner cult staple in New Zealand in a few years, I certainly wouldn't be surprised.

Alien Addiction

Director: Shae Sterling
Starring: Thomas Sainsbury, Jimi Jackson, JoJo Waaka, Harry Summerfield
Time: 90mins
Rating: R13 - Drug use, sex scenes and offensive language
Verdict: A close encounter of the gross-out kind.