Monday, July 4, 2011

Pornonomy Reviews: All-American Girls

All-American Girls (1982)

Directed by:
Bill Eagle

Brandy O'Shea
Copper Penny
Gina Gianetti
Jacqueline Lorians
Jade Leneer
Julienne Nichols
Joanna Storm
K.C. Valentine
Laura Lazare
Starr Wood
Lynx Canon
Alan Adrian
Billy Dee
Carl Lincoln
Charlie Hanover
George White
Jeff Conrad
Rock Steadie
Steve Douglas
Ferris Weal

I ask you, what film is better titled for a review on the Fawth of JOO-ly than All-American Girls? (Okay, that was a rhetorical question...moving along.)

The film is - if not the first, at least an early example of - the tried and true porn formula of a reunion of sorority sisters sharing stories of their erotic exploits. In this case, though, rather than allow things to flow more or less organically (you know, catching, the intent is put on front street: Caroline (Gianetti) is hyper-wealthy and flies the rest of her "sisters" to England for her birthday. The only gift she asks is for each of the girls to share the "nastiest" thing they've done since graduation.

None of the tales are particularly noteworthy - with the possible exception of Caroline's, which was a tryst with a professor, technically occurring before graduation, thus breaking her own "post-graduation rule" - but they were all well enough considered and presented: Danielle (Nichols) has a literal roll in the hay with two Frenchmen (Lincoln and Hanover) while studying abroad; Maria (O'Shea), as a "kept woman," is the wager in a high stakes roulette game; Rebecca and Shannon (Penny and Valentine) seduce a violinist's apprentice (White) at a high class function. The only woman without a story to tell is Denna (Lorians) who (we're assured is not a virgin) just doesn't have an experience on par with her sorority sisters. That is, until she has sex with Caroline's weirdo musician brother Charles (Douglas), sporting a pencil mustache somehow creepier than John Waters's.

There are two things definitely worth noting about the film. The first, technically, was the rather clever use of establishing shots in and around San Francisco to give the feeling of foreign locales. The second, narrative in nature, is the odd disconnect between the overall tone of the film - sorority sisters gettin' sexxxy - and the final scene, between Denna and Charles. Their initial meeting - him strumming out some bullshitty singer/songwriter tune on an acoustic guitar, her telling him she was a music major (harp and piano!) at Berkley - sort of sets the tone for the end, but the viewer is never really given and indication that they have any other interactions. So when he stumbles upon her crying because she hasn't been railed by two French guys or offered up on a felt table in Vegas, and then they end up screwing - scored by super romantic music - and he's like, "I love you and want you to stay with me forever," it seems less "how romantic!" and more, "THAT DUDE WILL TAXIDERMY YOU TOMORROW!" It ends up feeling like a filmmaker decided to try to incorporate a nice, romantic undertone to an otherwise fairly juvenile idea (while I'll wager that so-called "girl talk" is as or more "blue" than the average man assumes, the idea that a woman would decide that all she wants for her birthday is her friends' dirty stories is pretty absurd), and ended up making a huge miscalculation.

That rant aside, overall the production values were really solid, the performances above average (with a shout out to Billy Dee, who impresses me more with each film I see him in), and the film moved along pretty well. On a side note, Starr Wood had this sort of Carrie Brownstein thing going on - which was awesome - and Joanna Storm looked unnervingly like Loni Sanders (I think it was the darker hair). B

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