Movie Review: Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1988 comedy starring George Clooney and Anthony Starke

Synopsis: Ten years after the Great Tomato War, tomatoes have been outlawed in the United States and hero Wilbur Finletter runs a pizza parlor with the help of his nephew, Chad. What he doesn't know is the evil scientist behind the first tomato uprising is creating a new breed of tomatoes that look like humans. This includes Chad's new girlfriend, Tara.


I recently had an opportunity to see this movie again for the first time in nearly a decade. I didn't remember a whole lot about the film as a result. But, after watching it again, I have to admit it remains one of my favorite comedy films. In fact, I may even like it slightly more than the original, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

OK, I'm not going to lie. The movie is a bit campy and, because of that, not everyone is going to like this film. However, I personally enjoyed watching it.

There are a couple things that really stand out for me when it comes to this film. The first one is I enjoy how the movie doesn't take itself too seriously. I especially love when the film breaks the fourth wall about midway through with a discussion about product placement (especially when Clooney's character, Matt, was laying it on pretty thick toward the beginning). And, I'm not sure why, but I got quite a chuckle after noticing the clocks in Professor Gangreen's (Astin) house.

I also found I really liked the love story between Chad (Starke) and his tomato girlfriend, Tara (Waldron). At first, a lot of this had to do with the way he would try to explain away or ignore some of her quirks, such as showering with fertilizer and being obsessed with toast (and toasters). But, after he eventually finds out her secret, it became a somewhat legitimate (though admittedly strange) love story with him still caring for her even though she was really something he was raised to hate.

One character I thought I would dislike in this film was the cute sidekick FT (short for Fuzzy Tomato). But, as it turns out, I was actually OK with him. I think this is because, unlike many other cute sidekicks, FT actually did wind up having an impact on the overall movie and never reached a point where I was annoyed with him.

I am, however, a little undecided about Gangreen's assistant, Igor (Lundquist), only because I feel like the movie didn't really let him live up to his full potential. I didn't hate him. In fact, I liked how he was obsessed with becoming a TV news reporter (though I'm still not sure how his current job was supposed to help with that). It's just I feel like he should have ultimately done more than he wound up doing and, compared to the other over-the-top characters, I think he's kind of forgettable as a result.

Final Opinion

Again, it's not a film everyone will enjoy. But, if you like cheesy comedies that don't rely heavily on nude scenes and gross-out jokes, this is a film that is worth taking the time to watch at least once.

My Grade: B

Updated: 09/19/2019, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 02/16/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The killer tomato films are not among those that I've seen. Someone came into the library a couple of months ago and asked about comedies. So I've been paying attention to what I'd recommend if I were asked that question as a patron.

The library system has both Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Return of the Killer Tomatoes. So I'll be able to see them.

Online sources mention an animated series based on the killer tomatoes. Would you happen to have seen any episodes?

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