In hopes of dissolving voter apathy, the woman who brought porn bumping and grinding into the mainstream in the early 70's, Linda Lovelace, is chosen to run for President of the US of A as a third party candidate. The plan works too well, as instead of getting people to vote for the Republicans or Democrats, everyone's jumping on the Lovelace bed, er, bandwagon. The two opposing parties join forces and hire a hitman (called The Assassinator) to take Linda out, before the country collectively busts a nut.
One thing about summer is that not everything is going at full bore. In this case, it's been a slow couple of days around the cave aka my house. So instead of reviewing the latest horror DVD, I'm slugging it out with this 1975 sex comedy starring Ms. Linda Susan Boreman, more commonly known as Linda Lovelace (before she decided to do a 360 and campaign against pornography).
Right off the bat, while this does star Linda Lovelace and does show various instances of nudity both toplessness and full-frontal, those of you looking for a money shot will end up disappointed, though there is the simulated stuff. No, this is supposed to be an actual movie where people are supposed to act. And they do. Badly.
Yessir, this is as campy as they 'come' (pardon the pun). Throw in badly delivered bad one-liners and penis jokes that you'd probably used in Grade 6, and you have the comedy of LINDA LOVELACE FOR PRESIDENT. Needless to say, it loses it quickly, and it's obvious that the film is a product of its time. That said, it'll appeal to those nostalgia junkies old enough to remember the era (the same junkies who would find the now ho-hum racist, sexist and religious stereotyping shocking to watch).
One big 'rise' for the film (other than Linda) is the amount of cameos by cult stars like Scatman Crothers (who starred in THE SHINING), Joe E. Ross (from Car 54, Where Are You?), Monte Landis, Arthur Metrano (POLICE ACADEMY 2 & 3) and even Micky Dolenz of The Monkees. In some way, having these folks in the film bumps it up to the equivalent of MARS ATTACKS! in its appeal. The other big draw is the use of a few musical numbers, which are mildly entertaining, if only for the use of double entendres and puns.
Other than the few instances of chuckling, the film isn't particularly a good one, with the bad acting and not-quite-as-bad but still below average cinematography. It was supposed to be a vehicle for Lovelace to cross over into the mainstream but flopped, as did Linda's hopes of being more than a one-hit wonder.
What makes matters worse is the fact that time hasn't been too kind to the film. What was supposed to be shocking and controversial way back when, is now something that seems ho-hum and annoying (a jive-talking, hillbilly chimp, anyone?).
Like I said, it's a product of its time, and as a snapshot of that time, it fits the bill. But compare it to more recent sex comedies like AMERICAN PIE, the adage of something getting better with age doesn't apply to LINDA LOVELACE FOR PRESIDENT. Nevertheless, the film was ahead of its time in some areas (sex and comedy, for one), so it's worth a peek to see how far we've 'come' (it's the last pun, I swear).
Video: Dark Sky Films has done a remarkable job of cleaning up the video for this release (the only other incarnation can be found in the Alpha Blue Archives' LINDA LOVELACE COLLECTION), presenting the film in an anamorphic 1.85.1 widescreen transfer. Colours are nice and natural looking, with no compression artifacts or edge enhancement. That said, the film still has grain and minor print damage throughout, along with some age-related flicker. Still, it's watchable for a lower-than-B-movie.
Audio: The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track hits the mark cleanly and clearly, highlighting the original score from Big Mac & The Truckers. There's the occasional pop/background hiss in the mix, but it's nothing distracting. Like the video, Dark Sky Films have done a great job of restoration.
The only extra to be found is Deep Vote: The Oral History Of Linda Lovelace For President. Executive Producer Arthur Marks shows up and talks about how and why this film came to be, touching on things like Jack Margolis' screen play and the cast (obviously), and the fact that the job of directing was originally offered to Richard Donner (yes, the same Richard Donner of THE OMEN and SUPERMAN II), but went to Claudio Guzmán instead. Aside from some clips from the feature with a scattering of archival photos, there's not much more to this 9-minute piece.
Obviously, it would've been nice to hear from the late star of the film (though if she would actually talk about this film is another matter) or director Claudio Guzmán, or anyone else involved in the film, for that matter. Still, considering what this film is, it's a wonder we got anything.
What can sort of be called an extra is Dark Sky's excellent reproduction of the film's original poster on the reverse side of the cover, and even the cover art as well. It really does look like an actual campaign poster with creases from folding. Nice job, guys!
What could be seen as a time capsule to some and a bad B-movie to others, LINDA LOVELACE FOR PRESIDENT wasn't likely to win any awards then or now for its comedy or acting. Those of you old enough to remember the 70's and the whole sexual revolution may be intrigued by this, and for the the rest of us, this probably belongs with KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK as films which ultimately failed to capitalize on a star's popularity. If you're into that sort of thing (beer and buddies in hand), go right ahead.
Dark Sky Films should be given a big thumbs-up for going as far as they did with restoring the film and providing a nice little documentary for the film. If only all films, no matter how cheesy, were treated with such care...