Preceded by weird Max Headroom-referencing gangster Vinny, Pizza The Hutt is a dripping, bubbling, oozing mass of grease, cheese, and sauce, and basically resembles your worst possible interpretation of a person turned inside out and dipped into ingredients from an average Papa John’s assembly line, only to slowly congeal. As a child, this was horrifying. As an adult, it’s just really, really upsetting. I had to pause the movie and walk away for a few minutes, after Vinny started nibbling on his boss’s body. Even now, just describing it, I’m getting sick to my stomach. Let’s move on, because it’s starting to come across like the movie is unpleasant. And it’s not all bad; it’s just all over the place.

One of the proud traditions of many of Brooks’ films, and something Spaceballs does especially well, is breaking the fourth wall. There are repeated instances that still register as quite funny. After an early scene where Col. Sandurz lays out the bad guys’ entire plan, Dark Helmet turns to the camera and leans in: “Everybody got that?” Similarly, the film goes meta when our villains grab a VHS copy of Spaceballs, and fast-forward to the very moment of the current scene, which blows Helmet’s mind, just a little.

These moments are nice touches, ones that link Spaceballs with Brooks’ earlier, superior films. (A slow transition from one scene to another earns an admiring, “Nice dissolve!” from Barf.) When our heroes discover Yogurt, the Yoda-like guru who trains Lone Starr in the ways of the Schwartz (Brooks never met ridiculous Jewish wordplay he didn’t love), he reveals that his main responsibilities involve Spaceballs merchandising. “God willing, we’ll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: The Search For More Money,” he avers, telegraphing his real-life counterpart’s undoubtedly honest intentions. (The film made money, but not enough during its theatrical run to stir up interest in a sequel.)

But mostly, it feels like the film is a grab bag of scenes, hastily assembled and wedded to the frame of the narrative. Many scenes come across as though they’re present in the story simply because that’s who the film could get. For example, human sound effects generator Michael Winslow plays a Spaceballs radar specialist, so naturally we get a couple minutes of him doing his thing. The famous diner scene, which lovingly turns the chest-burster from Alien into a soft shoe song-and-dance man, seems like nothing so much as a case of, “Hey, we got John Hurt, let’s do this thing.” The movie-ending Planet Of The Apes gag features Michael York in an ape costume, because why not? This isn’t to suggest that these scenes were written on the fly; it’s just that the whole movie embodies a disjointed, throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks mentality, for better and worse.

Still, the movie has some deservedly memorable moments, lines of dialogue and visual gags that resonate because they capture Brooks’ mischievous spirit and a sharp comedic pop. “So you see, Lone Starr,” Dark Helmet intones, “evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.” A command to “comb the desert” is taken all too literally. A chase scene ends when the Spaceballs accidentally captures the heroes’ stunt doubles, instead of the protagonists themselves. For every stupid moment—Joan Rivers is largely wasted, never more so than when touting her android’s “Virgin Alarm” function during a romantic scene between Pullman and Zuniga—there’s a good-natured bit of slapstick absurdity, like the villains’ spaceship bypassing hyper-speed, to go straight to “Ludicrous speed.”

But the movie never lands on an even tone—unless, of course, you’re part of that aforementioned teenage boy demographic, eager to pair kid-pandering yuks with graphic sexual humor. At one point, a scantily-clad nurse exits the room, and Helmet, paired with an equally leering Sandurz and Skroob, says lustily, “I bet she gives great helmet.” It’s a line you wouldn’t want to have to explain to your child, but which a middle-school-age kid probably wishes were in more family-targeted entertainment. Back and forth bounces Spaceballs, merrily trafficking in Jewish stereotypes and cartoonish Star Trek references alike; substituting juvenilia for jokes, but then winning you back by having its hero accidentally lightsaber a cameraman on the film crew. If the film works, it’s because it maintains the giddy, free-associative spirit of early adolescence: old enough to be acutely aware of the silliness of everything you’re watching, and young enough not to care.