Monday, April 14, 2014

Private Resort

Filming was suspended on my gorgeous new lady mobster musical, Goodfollies, so the crew could have a well deserved Thanksgiving break with their families. Margo Channing kindly offered me an invitation to break cornbread stuffing and turkey drumsticks with her at that dilapidated little shack on Doheny she calls home. I politely declined, not wanting to spend the rest of the weekend at Cedar's Sinai being treated for ptomaine poisoning and botulism. Instead, I had Wolfgang Puck send over a little pilgrim hamper so I could relax and enjoy myself here at Chateau Maine. This past year has been so busy, that there are rooms I've barely set foot in. 

After feasting and fun, we had a lovely, sunny weekend and off I went to the back lawn to play a little croquet to find it still littered with Barbie heads from my last little project. I decided against the wickets and instead amused myself by piling them into little triumphal pyramids and sacrificial altars. I was so pleased with the result that I telephoned that fabulous glamour photographer, Sadie Mae Glutz, and had her come over and take some photos of me lying amongst them, wearing nothing but some old wolf pelts left over from my musical western, Tap Dances with Wolves. I'm going to have them blown up and sent to Baz Luhrman. When he sees them, he'll know I'm just the lady to play Roxana in his new Alexander the Great project. 

I was so exhausted after the photo shoot, I decided to collapse in the home theater and find some inane little trifle on a movie channel to carry me away to a nice relaxing destination. What should I stumble across while surfing but Private Resort, a 1985 teen sex comedy starring a very young, and quite delectable Johnny Depp. It struck me as the perfect way to waste ninety minutes and review a film from early in a star's career which has likely fallen off his resume, only to live in endless re-runs on late night cable. 

Private Resort is one of the innumerable Porky's clones that appeared in the 1980s, aiming to cash in on the brief vogue for teen sex comedies. This one stars Johnny Depp, age 22, in his second film role (he had made his debut the year before in the infinitely better A Nightmare on Elm Street in which he was turned into tomato puree by Freddy Krueger). He would not really become noticed for another two years when he accepted his role in the TV Series 21 Jump Street. His co-star, and partner in crime, is Rob Morrow, age 23, in his film debut. Rob would disappear after this for five years until Northern Exposure made him a household name. 

Johnny and Rob play Jack and Ben, a couple of horny college guys who end up at a chic Florida resort where they engage in various hijinks in a vain attempt to charm a parade of bimbos into bed. The film suffers from a surfeit of plot, most of which is either confusing, inane, or non-sensical, involving various guests and exists mainly to get the characters out of their clothes and into compromising situations. The resort setting allows a lot of starlet extras to sashay around the pool in bikinis and big eighties hair. There's a lot of nonsense about a nice Jewish girl (Hilary Shapiro) being involved with a Bagwhan Rajneesh type where she gets naked but can't actually touch men. There's an addle-pated old broad (Dody Goodman) with jewels that a thief (Hector Elizondo) is trying desperately to steal and the house detective (Tony Azito) keeps getting things muddled up and tackling the wrong person. Even Andrew Clay (pre-Dice) shows up as a jealous drunk. 

The material is thin, full of jokes that were old when Feydeau was a tot, but some of it actually works due to the efforts of a cast that's way above the level of the script. Depp and Morrow, in the leads, show flashes of the comic timing and abilities that eventually allowed them to forge careers, despite this misfire on their resumes. They also shed their clothes routinely and flash the audience in a much more visual way (with great care taken to prevent actual frontal nudity - some of the acrobatics they go through to do this seem quite painful). There are great moments on occasion from the supporting cast as well - Elizondo and Goodman are old pros, slumming (one assumes as the car payments were due).  Azito shows a little of the comic spark that made him so memorable as the police sargent in the Joseph Papp Pirates of Penzance. 

The film was directed, if that is the right word, by a George Bowers, who started his career as a film editor. He seems to have figured out his lack of aptitude for directing as he returned to the editing world where he has worked his way up the ladder to A-list projects including From Hell and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. It was written by a Gordon Mitchell, who, fortunately, never wrote another film. The look of the film is early American cheap. Shots don't match. The fancy resort looks decidedly run down (it must have been an inexpensive rent). The art direction is next to non-existent. The picture quality is grainy and the sound muddy. 

This is a film for those with a yen for the young Johnny Depp's naked rear end and perfectly moussed hair. All others should change the channel. 

Tropical drinks. Bad toupee. False hair stylist. Gratuitous female aerobics instructor. Gratuitous Spicoli stoner dude impersonation. Nubile breasts. Firm buttocks. Elevator tackle. Assorted infidelities. 

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