Revenge of the Petites (2012)
Katie St. Ives
After the Campus Cuties shitshow, it was refreshing to watch something that obviously had some consideration put into it. Both films focus on a girl going to college, and both use the main character's writing (a letter home in CC, a paper about the college experience here) to set up the film. And that's where the similarities end.
Revenge of the Petites cribs from Revenge of the Nerds (uh doy), Mean Girls, The House Bunny, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, American Pie, and Porky's. You can pretty much play '80s teen/college sex comedy bingo with it: evil Greek house, pranks, montages, bikini car wash! With the resurgeance of the porn parody, it's kind of pleasant to see something that exists as an homage, rather than a spoof. The lyrics in the original songs on the soundtrack seem tongue-in-cheek from time to time (whether the pastiche is '80s synth pop, ballad, or circa 2006 club banger), they never push into full-on DVDA territory.
The first 105 minutes or so is about as close to an all-girl film a non-all-girl film can get. Interestingly, that in and of itself strays from the sorts of films it was inspired by. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a sorority film that not only doesn't have a fraternity presence, but doesn't even mention fraternities. The few peripheral male characters don't really get into the action until the final 20 minutes (more on that later). Until that point, it's all character development, plot advancement, and Sapphic canoodling.
As previously mentioned, the film is set up by the main character Marie (McCray) forced to write a paper after missing a final exam. Conviently, her college experience has a pretty decent plot arc! So Marie goes to college, attempts to rush a sorority her mother warned her about, gets humiliated (along with her friend, Skin) by said sorority, ends up in an outcast sorority for tiny girls (the Petites), Petites are humiliated as a whole by the bitchy sorority, who exact revenge with the help of a disillusioned popular girl; the head of the popular sorority alienates most of the rest of her sorority who then all join the Petites, which, naturally, results in a bunch of two- and threesomes at the Petites house (and a threesome at the other sorority house for good measure), because...college. This part of the film was edited in the classic fashion of cycling through the simultaneously scenes (including one, between Celeste Star and Sative Verte, that included some of the most amusing dirty talk I've ever heard). It amounted to a pretty dizzying array of (seemingly real) female orgasms. Anyway, then there's the house vs. house bikini car wash showdown. Loser loses their house! Which house will come out on top? No spoilers here.
After the climactic car wash scene, Marie's paper is finished. It seems like a reasonable enough place to end, but instead the viewer is "treated" to four more happening-at-the-same-time scenes: Professors Deen and Shevon, Marie's mother Heidi and Marie's friend Kris, Marie and Seth, and Katie, Tia, and Coach Talon. On the one hand, it makes sense as the denouemont: each scene realizes a sexual tension from earlier (the teachers were plainly into each other - and had a bit of a dalliance at the car wash; Kris had a huge crush on Marie's mom; Marie and Seth were falling in love; Coach Talon and the girls...had to fuck, I guess). On the other, though, they feel bizarrely out of place. After nearly two hours focused primarily on the girls' pleasure, the film ends with four pop shots (three of which are facials).
Throughout much of the movie, I was wondering who, exactly, the target audience was. Couples, I guess. The cast was loaded with women (whose acting abilities were as varied as their pubic hair styles) that I'd wager average porn-watching heterosexual women would find attractive. Then, there were the guys. Deen and Slater are young and charismatic, so I'd assume they'd appeal to wives and girlfriends (the fact that Deen's popular enough to merit an ABC News feature seems to back that up). But Seth Dickens seems like a dopey cartoon sidekick (not the leading lady's love interest), and Talon looks like a 'roided out Steven Tyler/Bruce Jenner hybrid. Yikes. Anyway, to me, those final four pop shots felt like Harry Sparks was just about to call it a day when he remembered he forgot to show girls getting jizzed on, and that was his solution. It seems to me, if there was some facial quota to be met, there were places in the actual narrative to insert the scenes. But what do I know? I'm not a professional pornographer.
Like I mentioned in the review of The Smiths, since new movies aren't really my thing, it's not going to get a grade, but I can say that I quite enjoyed it. (And appreciated the fact that it wasn't five hours long; the bonus disc with extended scenes is fucking GENIUS.) One thing that I would have liked the film to explain the cultural bias against petite girls? I mean, everyone gets the bias against nerds: they're nerds! Also, at the beginning of the film, when Marie is measuring herself to see if she'd grown, she uses the same IKEA measuring spoon to gauge her vagina (?) that I use in my kitchen. Small world.
And now to read Gore-Gore Girl's thoughts, which I don't doubt will be better organized and stated. Well, that's what I get for not outlining or editing!