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SWEATER GIRLS coulda been a contender; in different hands, with a lot more creativity there is every chance that this project could have emerged as the breakthrough comedy that was PORKY'S just three years later. In any event, it is a decent time-waster.
There were many soft porn attempts to cash in on nostalgia for the '50s in the '70s, notably SLUMBER PARTY '57. Co-star (with Debra Winger) in that movie Noelle North is also a star of SWEATER GIRLS, but lightning failed to strike. The reason is that the "naughty but nice" sexy & comical antics are pretty flat & corny, causing the film to run out of gas early on.
North and her girl-next-door co-stars (no real beauties in the bunch for some casting reason) form a Sweater Girls club, with tons of different color sweaters as uniforms. They keep changing sweaters, so the fans can get a look at their vintage, very-old-fashioned looking brassieres. Only one girl provides the bulk of the film's nudity (a bad mistake), Tamara Barkley as Lynne. Her career went bust (no pun intended), with barely a couple of Blake Edwards assignments in her future, and... out!
With a decent enough budget allowing for cherry early 1950s autos and a fun Drive-In movie sequence, film begins promisingly, but degenerates in the final reels into a static, unfunny mess in one of the girl's homes. Sexual initiation of a nerd is poorly done, and the "slut" of the group, Julie Parsons as Loella, is miscast -she comes off as more of a good girl for my money. She graduated to an equally unsuccessful movie from the briefly prominent filmmaking team of Jesse Vint and Max Baer Jr., HOMETOWN USA, and... out!
(Parenthetically, I once received an incredibly long rebuttal letter directly from Jesse after I panned his goof-ball magnum opus ANOTHER CHANCE, caught at a Cannes Market screening. I ain't retracting anything!) Another miscasting is Jack O'Leary as a big fat local sheriff who spends the movie stealing the underage boys' cases of beer in a gag repeated over & over & over. He's dead space on screen, in a role that Jonathan Winters could have hit out of the ballpark.
Most misleading element of SWEATER GIRLS is the appearance at the end of the film for about 30 seconds of TV superstar-of-the-future Charlene Tilton. She is strikingly beautiful at age 19, which merely shows up the homeliness of the film's actual stars.
Filmmaker Don Jones is clearly competent, as this film is technically well-directed -it just lacks any sort of inspiration. I played a very small part in his unsuccessful career: when I caught Jones' THE LOVE BUTCHER playing on Forty Deuce circa 1982 I reviewed it for Variety, giving it a (relative to its genre) rave. This elicited a brief feud with no less than Harlan Ellison, who wrote a letter to the editor published in Daily Variety (our companion newspaper on the Left Coast) taking a holier-than-thou stance, extremely displeased with my praise/endorsement of torture-porn, as opposed to the intellectual approach to sci-fi and fantasy that he has always adhered to in his writing. That tempest in a teapot briefly called attention to Jones' work, but he retreated immediately into obscurity and his later films were decidedly of less interest.
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