Monday, January 10, 2011

Pornonomy Reviews: Baby Cakes

Baby Cakes (1982)

Directed by:
Bob Chinn

Jamie Leigh
Misty Regan
Rhonda Jo Petty
Victoria Slick
Billy Dee
Blair Harris
Mike Horner
R.J. Reynolds
Randy West

If there's something I'm (slowly) learning, it's that it's not a very good idea to start mentally writing these reviews while watching the films. I'd worked out a food analogy to describe Baby Cakes: while it may be interesting and satisfying to have a six course, avante garde meal prepared by a molecular gastronomist, sometimes you just want a cheeseburger and fries. I was going to say that Baby Cakes was like the latter - nothing Earth-shattering, not a reinvention of the wheel (to mix metaphors), but a solid example of an American classic. And while the description fits much of the film, in order to complete the analogy, it'd need to be altered to say that while eating the burger, much of it was delicious, but then with the last few bites you realize someone had put tartar sauce on the bun. It's not terrible, just kind of weird.

There's a tried and true convention of porn pairing sexually experienced characters with sweet, simple sexual naifs and having at least one of the plot points being the former trying to get the latter to loosen up. In Baby Cakes, the "party girls" are Rhonda and Denise (well-played by Rhonda Jo Petty and Victoria Slick) and the naif is Suzy (Jamie Leigh), an avid cyclist. The film opens with the three of them returning home, presumably with a night out on the town, with two guys. Rhonda and Denise head upstairs while Rhonda goes to the garage. The scene is cut between the two couples in the bedroom (the same bed, in fact), and Rhonda working on her bicycle; the juxtaposition of what the friends "get off" on, is fairly obvious.

The next morning, Suzy convinces the pair to ride to Los Angeles so Suzy can enter the prestigious Grand Prix (which would be like a runner convincing her friends to run 500 miles to Boston to enter the Marathon...).

Along the way, the three friends meet three surfers at a motel: shy Charlie (Randy West), and fun-loving dudes Steve and Jimmy (Billy Dee and Blair Harris)...whaddayaknow, a mirror-image group!

Suzy and Charlie take a walk on the beach while the other four make use of the guys' room (which also makes you wonder if Rhonda and Denise can only have sex if they're in the same room). The girls set out on their bikes while guys go to surf, all six having made plans to meet up further down the road later that night.

When the ladies stop at a gas station, they're harassed by a couple of goons in an RV (Mike Horner and some other doofus). It's here that the burger gets its tartar sauce.

After the two sets of friends meet up at the beach, in order to get Suzy past her hang ups regarding Charlie, Rhonda gives her two sips of wine and then goes down on her. Romance!

Then the next morning, through some machination that was either cut from the film or just wilfully not explained, Rhonda and Denise are captured by the RVing goobers.

Of course, Charlie et al. act the White Knight(s) and come to the rescue, and the ne'er-do-wells get their comeuppance. Now, a proper resolution would be the group heading on to LA for Suzy to enter (and then win) the Grand Prix. And then there'd be a celebratory orgy (this is porn, after all). Instead, the movie just ends.

If the last half hour had lived up to the first fifty minutes, Baby Cakes would be worth an A- in my opinion. Unfortunately, shortcomings from the last 37.5% of the movie - the lack of feeling when Charlie and Suzy get together, the lack of dramatic tension during the abduction (do in part to Mike Horner's inability to play "menacing"; he seems like he's too nice a guy to play a slimeball convincingly), the lack of plot resolution - detract from the stuff that was working in the first 62.5% - the genuinely likable characters and dialogue (especially the presumably ad-libbed scene between Dee and Harris, before they meet the girls; in fact, the more I see Billy Dee, the more impressed I am with his natural acting ability), and the very simple but formally strong way in which the sex scenes were shot. Still, the pros ultimately out-weigh the cons. B


  1. I forgot this flick existed -- I love Bob Chinn's style, and I always hear about this film. I will have to pick it up. Mike Horner as a bad guy though? -- probably about as convincing as Ron Jeremy.

  2. To expand, briefly, on "the very simple but formally strong way in which the sex scenes were shot," I was struck by how Chinn was able to get everything "right" while seeming to keep the camera out of the shot (figuratively speaking).

    Do check it out.

  3. Oh, I will do. I will write it up in my quickie reviews once I see it. Of all the directors out there, Chinn's tone/style is the hardest to explain. From now on, I'm just gonna say he "gets it right." :)