A National Lampoon anthology of three shorts spoofing everything from personal growth films, glossy soap operas, and police stories. In the first story "Growing Yourself", stars Peter Riegert as a confused family man who throws his wife out of the house in order for him to "grow" a new path in life and raise his four children on his own. In "Success Wanters", Ann Dusenberry stars as Dominique Corsaire, a young college graduate determined to succeed in life in which in a few days time lands a job as a stripper, then the mistress to a margarine company, inherits it when the owner croaks, and is then romanced by a Greek shipping tycoon, and ultimately the US president. In "Municipalians", Robby Benson stars alongside Richard Widmark as a naive rookie Los Angeles policeman paired with a cynical veteran of the force to catch an inept serial killer (Christopher Lloyd). Written by
Wow. I read about this movie and it sounded so awful that I had to see it, and my gosh, I can smell it in St Louis. Where do I start? National Lampoons was trying to follow up 5 years later on the success of Animal House, but they completely missed the mark. I'll go chronologically with these short flicks.
Short Film #1
Poor Peter Riegert (Boon from Animal House). Apparently, he wasn't working back then, so the boys at National Lampoons probably called and said "hey, we're making a c**ppy movie, wanna be in it?" Peter was like "well, I'm not doing much these days, why not?" He was a great side character in Animal House, but he couldn't carry this sorry short flop for 5 minutes.
POSSIBLE SPOILER The premise is funny enough, with Jason Cooper (Riegert) telling his wife to leave him, she needs to find herself. It's too weird that they're actually in a happy marriage. So he chases her off, there she goes, and Cooper is in charge of the kids. This, off course, leads to him burning the house down, losing several of the kids, and sleeping with an assortment of New York bimbos (including an ever so young Diane Lane). Then the wife comes back, wants the kids, and the film ends with a coin flip that'll decide the fate of the children. The idea was actually somewhat clever, but the director stunk. The characters all seem like they're falling asleep, they HAD to be doped up. Sorry Boon, your legacy was tarnished with this flop.
Short Film #2
Enter Dominique Corsaire. Pretty girl, recently finished college, not sure what to do with her life. So she becomes a slut, starts sleeping around with some mega rich guys, takes their money when they die, and she doesn't stop until she beds the most powerful man in the world, Fred Willard (Ooops, I mean the president of the United States). Once again, it could have been funny, and though I was happy that Corsaire (Ann Dusenberry in real life) wasn't afraid to bare all, her acting was horrible. What a waste of time.
Short Film #3
I can't believe I made it this far. Here's the rookie cop Brent Falcone (Robby Benson) with veteran Stan Nagurski (Richard Widmark). Falcone is young, naive, thinks he can really help people, though he becomes cynical after being shot several thousand times. Nagurski, really, has just given up caring. He watches muggings, assaults, you name it, and never intervenes. He figures the world is lawless and he'll probably get sued if he does anything. Even Christopher Lloyd (at the end of Taxi's run) gets in on the action, getting the police called on him, committing a crime, but having his lawyer there to protect him. God bless America!!
Once again, could have been funny, the performances were intentionally campy, but goodness, no energy whatsoever. Henry Jaglom and Bob Giraldi should be ashamed of having their names on this schlock. I think the writing wasn't bad, the ideas were there, but the execution was pulled off as well as the rescue attempt in the Iranian hostage crisis. If I had been a part of this film, I would want my name removed, it's horrible. Then again, that's why I watched it.
The only good thing about this garbage is that Dr John did the film score (repeating "Going to the Movies" over and over again) and the film isn't much longer than an hour and a half. Show this one in film classes with the heading "what you should NEVER do in film-making." This script should have been left on the shelf because yep, it's that bad.
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