Wednesday, August 25, 2010


(Bob Clark, 1981)
Unlike most subsequent comedies of sexual humiliation, this trailblazer is a 'real' movie, made by a capable craftsman. In between the sex talk, Clark explores his themes of machismo and racism with palpable seriousness, and the scenes at Porky's sex bar have an undertone of real malevolence, not the usual fun stuff. In fact, it's not fun at all. The unrelenting, smug cruelty of the humour is painful to endure; Clark may think he's building bridges by showing women and black guys joining in the escapades, but the result feels evasive and wrong. In this context, and sincere though it might be, the (highly compromised) anti-racism subplot feels like a diversion: at no point does anyone issue a comparable challenge to the view of sex as guys getting women to do what they want by any means necessary. The fat-phobic stuff certainly doesn't help, nor do the exhaustingly endless prompt-shots of guffawing bystanders. I will only confess to laughing twice: Peewee's naked night run is handled with uncharacteristic finesse, and the long-take penis identification conference in the principal's office takes broad as far as it will go, climaxing with a zoom that puts the project's normative mission in a nutshell.

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