Monday, June 7, 2010

Quickie Reviews: Three Comedies and a Drama

Girl from S.E.X. (1982)
In the vein of Our Man Flynt, The Girl from S.E.X. is a secret agent parody. S.E.X. Agent 38DD (Lisa DeLeeuw) must infiltrate A.S.S. (I forget what the acronyms stand for) to stop a nefarious plan. There were some pretty clever/dumb jokes that actually made me laugh out loud, which will always get bonus points. (The character named "Xavier Hollandaise" was a particularly nice touch, if not a little dated.) If there was one shortcoming, it was the way the sex scenes were edited. There'd be all the expected set up dialog, but when it came to it, scenes would generally cut directly to the actors naked and at it, which was a little jarring and didn't help the flow of the film. Still, one of the better comedic porns I've seen in awhile: B+

Blonde's Have More Fun (1979)
A con man sets up a health food store in San Francisco, selling an elixir concocted by an associate ("Brains", a man fried by drugs and/or feral), pitched as a cure-all that turns out to be the World's Greatest Aphrodisiac. Needless to say, the elixir sets the city's loins aflame and leads to all manners of sexual shenanigans including an orgy in the store and, in my opinion the film's highlight, a backroom tryst between Hershel Savage and Diana Holt. Stylistically at odds with the rest of the film, the scene was really, really well directed and edited. The huckster (Max Devo, perhaps? I'd have to revisit the end credits to be sure....) does a very good job as the snake oil salesman-type, although as many actors in porn or B-movie comedic roles requiring rapid speaking, he has a tendency to get a bit tedious in his monologue (as much a fault of the director and writer as the actor). All told, a pretty fun picture: B+

Nurses of the 407
(1982)
While I should have learned my lesson of raised expectations after Tigresses, I definitely have after Nurses of the 407. The promising trailer, which I'd seen on a few other dvds, the solid cast, and the concept (M*A*S*H) seemed like it'd make a solid picture. Unfortunately, there wasn't a story, the characters were uninteresting, the jokes all fell flat, and the normally comedy-dependable cast (Hershel Savage, Jessie St. James, Paul Thomas, and Joey Silvera, particularly) underperformed. I'm tempted to grade it lower, but the production values were actually pretty good, so while I'm unlikely to recommend, and certainly won't watch it again, I'll give it: C-

Raw Talent (1984)
Following struggling actor Eddie Czeropski (Jerry Butler) from stage auditions, to a to-make-the-rent porn career, to mainstream success, lost after his X past was discovered, Raw Talent is held by many (or at the very least, Jerry Butler, who used the title for his industry exposing autobiography) as one of the great adult films of all time. True, the acting, writing, directing, and look of the film are all quite good, but a huge issue, in my opinion, is the relative lack of drama. Eddie always seems to roll with the punches: you don't really get the sense that he's got an acting fire in his belly, you don't feel an ecstatic high after he gets work on a soap opera, or a crushing low after he's betrayed and his porn career ruins his burgeoning "straight" career. From a technical standpoint, I'm going to go ahead and assume the release was abridged, because three abrupt jumps - all violent in nature (a mugging, a scene between Lisa DeLeeuw and Butler in a bathroom, and a fight near the end) - have to be cuts from the original. I enjoyed Raw Talent for what it was, but can't help thinking how a few changes could have made it a ton better. B

6 comments:

  1. Roger, we're going to have to agree to disagree on "Nurses of the 407" since I personally found it to be an excellent example of how to make a good parody (and here's hoping the new XXX spoof of MASH won't turn out to be a disaster like the XXX parody of The Big Lebowski). As far as the story, I thought that Nurses of the 407 was character driven much like the TV show. Someday,and that could mean this month or next year :-), I'll get around to reviewing it.

    Girl from S.E.X. sounds great and I've wanted to see Raw Talent for years. Unfortunately, my rental outfit doesn't carry either title.

    I was really glad to see you put up some reviews and look forward to some more in the near future.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, I'll agree with you on the "character driven" part. My problem was that the characters just weren't that interesting. Obviously, Paul Thomas's "Jaybird" was the "Hawkeye Pierce" character (and, like I said above, in my opinion Thomas underperformed in the role), but Jon Martin's "John" was hardly a "Trapper John" or "B.J. Hunnicut." The mutual charisma of those two characters is integral to what made M*A*S*H great and I think it hurt Not407. Joey Silvera's "Specs" (Radar) was the most interesting character, but, I don't know, even that performance left a lot to be desired.

    The film just needed *something* to support the characters/day-in-the-life format. Like, bigwigs coming in for an inspection and hilarity ensues....

    ReplyDelete
  3. I found Specs to be the least interesting character.

    I do agree that Jon Martin didn't seem to me to be either TJ or BJ; otherwise, it just looks like there's not much for us to agree on in this movie.

    When (IF ever), I do a review, I'll give you a link in the review as the opposing viewpoint.

    I'm thinking about saving it to contrast with the new MASH parody that is coming out soon.

    Later,

    Mr. X-Ray

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think it'd be great to hear your counterpoint! I strongly encourage you to get a review together, but, like you mentioned, it might make the most sense to do it as a comparison to the new parody.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yay - quickies!

    I've been wanting to see Raw Talent for a while, thanks for reviewing it. I love movies about movies, and of course from a porn scholar perspective I especially love porn movies about porn - there's something extra interesting about porn that talks about itself.

    Nice to see some intelligent disagreement about that Nurses movie - makes me want to see it more.

    ReplyDelete