Tuesday, April 6, 2021

I Want to Be Bad (1984)

Neglected housewife Jan Jenkins (Kay Parker) is fed up with her husband (Jon Martin) Charlie's philandering ways and decides to have her own affairs in order to live her best (sex) life. Realizing (sorta...) the mistake he made taking Jan for granted, Charlie recommits to his wife and promises to give all the good loving she needs. Roll credits.

On paper, Robert McCallum's I Want to Be Bad is a pretty simple, trope-rich adult film. In practice, it's a little more complicated. First, Jon Martin's Charlie is a completely unsympathetic character. Which, fine, Jan's the protagonist, but the third act turn really relies on the character's revelation of the error of his ways and earnestly trying to earn his wife's affections back. Instead, after a "hey, yeah you're right: my wife's okay," conversation with his friend Fred Appleby (Paul Thomas), Charlie proceeds to have an argument with Jan, smash open the locked door to their bedroom to which Jan'd retreated, and...well...sexually assault her. Yikes.

Right out of the gates, he proves himself an asshole. When his secretary Karen (Laurie Smith), with whom he's having an affair, tells him there's not enough time before his flight to Seattle for them to fool around, he's like, "Plenty of time, baby," and then after he gets his rocks off and she's like, "Don't leave me hanging, I'm so close," he goes, "Sorry, gotta jet!"

Later on, during while interviewing Flo Whitaker (Jacqueline Lorians) for a position at his company he not-so-subtly implies that her odds of employment would greatly improve if she went the extra mile. After she does, she laughs and says, "It's a helluva way to try to get a job." And he says, "Well, you had the job all along sweetheart." When she's understandably pissed, he just says, "It's a fringe benefit for the boss!"

With all that it's incredible that there was zero effort to give Charlie a Heel Face Turn.

Additionally, I would have expected the Sexual Awakening of Jan to be more fully explored. Her eyes are opened when the aforementioned Fred stops by and asks to use her VCR to watch a hot new porno since his machine's on the fritz. (A totally normal thing to do, obviously.) Initially, she's unsure since Charlie's away to Seattle (in part for a business meeting with her father; a bit on that in a second).

Ultimately, she decides to let him in, but declines watching it with him. Naturally, her curiosity gets the better of her, and after watching a bit of the flick (presumably Golden Girls Films 169: Relaxation with Lynn Ray and Marc Wallice, even though the box he's carrying is for Hot Rackets, naturally a McCallum picture), she succumbs to Fred's advances.

With her newfound libido, she decides to seduce her water delivery boy, who happens to also be the star of the "fuck film" she'd just seen. What a coincidence! So far as we see, though, that's the extent of her escapades. Of course, she may not have had much more time to fool around. It's difficult to get a real sense of time. It could take place in as few as three days, but mentions of relationship between Karen and Fred and Flo and the water boy imply weeks (or even months). I suppose it's no massive shock that an adult film doesn't have a meticulously charted timeline.

I realize devoting this many words to flaws makes it seem like I didn't enjoy the movie, but that's not actually the case. I really should try to pick fewer nits. With how goddam fast times is flying, maybe I'll make that a 2022 resolution. Anyway, to the positives.

The performances were either good (most of the actors), fun (Wallice's stiff - no pun intended - line reads delivered through a perma-grin)...

...or both (PT's charming goofiness).

The film was pleasantly paced both in the sex (no lingering, gratuitous close ups) and non-sex scenes and clocked in just shy of 82 minutes. And the sex scenes were mostly good to very good. The lone lemon was when water delivery boy joined Flo in her shower. It was a clunky, awkward waste of two attractive performers and a perfect example of how shower sex - not the oft-dunked on 69 position - is the true over-rated sex act.

The final scene between Charlie and Jan was close to making the Dishonorable Mention list for how it started, but after the legitimate "trigger warning" start to the scene it was pretty damn sexy.

Of note, too, was the scene between Charlie and Jan's father's new wife, Trish (Tara Aire). Trish was keeping Charlie company before a meeting with Jan's father, Thomas Harlan (Blake Palmer in what must be the shortest role of his career). They shared a drink and then she showed him to a room she had set up for him to rest, even though he wasn't staying the night. Charlie didn't realize Trish had slipped him a Mickey until it was too late (marked by possibly the line of the film, while examining his crotch: "What the hell is this? I feel a slight stiffness coming on!"). After a dazed Charlie passes out, Trish creeps into the room and wakes him up, iiifff you know what I mean. The wildest part is after they're finishing up, who should emerge from the shadows, but Harlan, wearing only a robe and pleasuring himself to the show!

A perplexed Charlie asks, "Harlan?!?" aaand scene. There are about a zillion places that thread could have gone from there, but instead it was out of sight, out of mind. McCallum could have done worse than to have a sequel that focused on Trish and Harlan's cuckold adventures.

Anyway, let's see what Rimmer says:

The CC rating is for Kay Parker and a happily silly story of Kay as Jan Jenkins, married to Charlie (Jon Martin), who has played around ever since they were married.

It's rare that Rimmer actually states why he gave a film a Collectors Choice, so that's something, even if it's isn't particularly informative. As for errors, he writes that "Charlie's secretary has quit and gone to work for Fred," although she and Fred are just dating, which is why she's no longer available to Charlie sexually. He also says Trish is "the new wife of a millionaire client," whereas more significantly, she's the new wife of Jan's father, Harlan. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he's not technically wrong, because while it's never stated that Harlan is a client, Charlie does mention that Harlan never lets him forget he's responsible for putting Charlie in business. (I took that to mean he lent him start up money, but he could be a client, as well.)

All told, there was a whole lot to like about I Want to Be Bad. As has become an oft-repeated refrain, the film was a few tweaks from being a really, really good picture, but as it is I'll rate it a CC50.

° Marc Wallice has some solid relaxation advice for a stressed out Flo: "Take a hot shower, a nice shot of Scotch, and a long, long nap. And when you wake up, believe me, you *will* feel 200% more positive energy."

° Speaking of Wallice, every time I see him in something, I'm reminded of Christy Canyon's book, when she talked about the incredible amount of weed he smoked.

° Also speaking of Wallice, when Jan tells him she's sure he'll be getting a lot of work as a porn actor, he says, "Right, I might even get as big as John Leslie or Harry Reems." I always enjoy characters in adult films referencing other real life actors (though other examples elude me at the moment; I'll have to keep track...). Despite overlapping careers, Wallice (1982-2002) never appeared in a film with either Leslie ('75-'98) nor Reems ('70-'88). McCallum direct all three actors (Wallice x16, Leslie x12, Reems x5) including two films (Erotic City and Tower of Power) with both Leslie and Reems. John Leslie directed Marc Wallice a dozen times. Unsurprisingly, Leslie never directed Harry Reems.

° According to IAFD, Blake Palmer appeared in a Non-sex role. He is shown explicitly stroking his erect penis, though, so in my opinion, it should have been classified as MastOnly, as in Every Woman Has a Fantasy. Sure, he doesn't ejaculate in I Want to Be Bad, but orgasm isn't the standard for "sex" roles, so it shouldn't be for "masturbation only" roles either. Harumph.

° Tigr (as Tig'r) is credited as "Maid" (and also Assistant Director, which is cool), but this is the extent of her appearance:

° Jacqueline Lorians is called Flo Whitaker multiple times, but is credited as Flo Moroni, for some reason.


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