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The mid-to-late 1980s marked the heyday of the Mom-and-Pop video store.
Americans had brought VCRs in record numbers and the "4 Titles For the
Price 3" special was the standard way we rented VHS cassettes for the
weekend. It took a year or more for top Hollywood movies to come to
video (the "A" titles) and to fill up that four title special customers
would look on the back shelves for the single copies of older movies
and more obscure stuff (the "B" titles). Drive-ins were closing, but
the hack producers of drive-in fare started producing movies that went
direct-to-video. Most of the DTV B-titles were crap, exploitation pics
shot in a garage with a hand-held mike for chickenfeed budgets. Not
restricted by the MPAA ratings code, a way to distinguish a DTV title
on the shelf was to feature T&A, and as this was the era of gratuitous
nudity flicks, the onslaught of 80s nudie cuties was on.
Exploitation director Ed Hansen and John Carpenter regular Buck Flower wrote "Takin' It Off" and its sequel "Taken It All Off" and churned out what was probably the best of this kind of movie. A school for strippers is losing money and the owner Becky Lebeau, played by Mr. Skin nude scene queen Michelle Bauer, decides to save her school from the greedy landlord played by John Alderman. It's the umpteenth remake of the Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney formula of "putting on a show" to save the (farm, orphanage, church, community center, stripper school). They manage to snag stripping queen Betty Bigones (Russ Myer regular Kitten Natividad) to perform with them, but a monkey wrench is thrown into the plan when new student Allison (80s porn queen Candie Evans under her real name Jean Poremba) can't bring herself to take her clothes off and hypnosis is used as a last ditch effort to save the day.
There's lots of bad 80s hair and hideous 80s fashions. The acting is largely beyond horrible. Kitten Natividad recites many of her lines like a child in a big paper costume in a school play, but Buck Flower himself is a hoot as Allison's hillbilly father; and Candie Evans must have been game to try something that didn't involve her getting smothered by some guy, because she is surprisingly good in her role. Hansen's direction is competent and the jokes in the script aren't bad. There's LOTS of full-frontal female nudity, and only one scene with male nudity and that's one male backside in a tender shower love scene. Some of the stripping is amateurish, but that's okay, and Kitten Natividad shows she's a good performer and dancer who loved what she did. The title song is annoying, but a few others ("Louisiana Lovers", "I Just Want You" performed by someone named Little Joe Shaver) on the soundtrack aren't. The movie is padded with extra nudity to get close to 90 minutes, but that's what a Mom-and-Pop video store customer would have rented Takin' It All Off for.
Kitten Natividad was 40 when this movie was made and her face was starting to age, but her body here is still in good shape. Sadly she hit the wall soon after. Candie Evans married one of the American Gladiators, started a family and left showbiz entirely in 1988. Their beautiful bodies are preserved on VHS tape. Takin' It All Off must have been a hugely successful rental as used copies pop up on ebay all the time. Hansen died in 2005, so it's up to Buck Flower or whoever owns the rights to Takin It All Off to put it out on DVD. They should be encouraged, because there aren't a lot of comedies made with gratuitous female nudity anymore, and that's ashame.
This is a buffet of nude women. Plenty of T&A and sexual second meanings. Just as good as the first movie: Takin' It Off.
With a title like TAKIN' IT ALL OFF, you know this isn't going to be one for the arthouse crowd, right? But just in case you weren't sure, you get that amazing opening sequence where Kitten wiggles her amazing bod down a long staircase and right up to the camera, before climbing into her chauffeur-driven limo and playing with her huge boobs in the back seat. Then we get an unfunny sequence with an old drunk guy holding a conversation with a toy telephone, after that my attention wandered slightly, and it was a good ten minutes before Kitten was back on the scene, and what a scene it was! Yes fans, it's Miss Natividad in the shower, and you can guess where the camera is focused. I can't imagine any heterosexual guy NOT getting hot under the collar as she soaps and massages those fleshy twin peaks. It's a long sequence too, so be prepared. Sadly, after that, there's a lot of boring plot to sit through, and to be blunt, whenever Kitten's not on the screen this film is ghastly, so I'll cut to the chase and tell you that she has some memorable scenes near the end - and that low-cut black leotard is something you've GOT to see! Her final strip, to that stupid "swamp water liquor alligator gumbo" hillbilly song, is another show-stopper, and those bazooms seem to take on a life of their own in that black basque...we just don't see entertainers like this any more! Sadly Kitten went past her prime not long after this film came out, so this is pretty much the last decent movie she made where she looks hot and cute simultaneously, and I recommend picking it up if you spot it anywhere, but don't pay more than five, you'll kick yourself!
This is a shockingly bad attempt at sex comedy, performed with absolutely no attempt at gusto or feeling by an untalented cast of unknowns. The script is pathetic, the jokes are non-existent and the acting is absolutely dire - these people would make a school play look like the height of professionalism! Luckily, Kitten Natividad is on hand to drag this cheap-looking movie out of the muck with one of her most memorable performances. She exudes warmth and sensuality, and if your jaw doesn't hit the floor at the sight of her opening sashay down a flight of steps or her awesome shower scene, you could very well be dead! Forget Kitten's harder porn tapes, this is the one movie that will cause you to fall irreversibly in love with her - it's just a shame that you have to sit through a lot of crap to get to the really good stuff.
As an enormous fan of John Carpenter, I also have a great affinity for any of his stock actors. But one man in his company sticks out in my mind for his blatant disregard for decorum, enunciation and personal hygiene. That man is George "Buck" Flower. Buck (AKA "The hell with scale--I'll work for road smokes and beers) Flower is truly a funny guy--and other directors know it, hence his two appearances in the Back to the Future trilogy as Hill Valley's lovable "Drunk on the Park Bench." But the man has also made a name for himself independently, scripting and directing several indie works. The best of these is certainly 1987's "Takin' It All Off." Sure, it's a great skin flick (and it's ALL female skin, thankfully--I'm sure anyone would be struck sterile if forced to take a gander at Buck's Flower), and there's a really bad "1980's gay stereotype/dance instructor" to laugh at, but Buck's performance as the disgruntled father forced to sell his attractive daughter into a life of stripping is fantastic. And the daughter is nothing to sneeze at either. Be forewarned, however--there is one female in the film (whose name escapes me) that has the physique of a svelte rhinoceros. But the other three or four nubile nymphettes are rather attractive and have no problem going completely starkers all in the name of cinema. Rent it now before someone else does and burns it.
As with most of these boobie movies, a little is never enough and
seriousness is looked down upon. This little gem is good for what it is, a
whole bunch of chicks getting nekkid for little to no reason, and the usual
stereotypes are in full swing. The only bad mark that this flick has is the
constant and annoying use of its title song.
Believe me, after 20 minutes of hearing it, you'll want to shoot someone. But put the TV on mute and you will have a good time.
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