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All together now: "We're just trying to have a good time."
Ashlie Rhey is our endearing leading lady in this amiable feature, playing Kim Taylor, a young woman fairly bored with her life. Fortunately, she's in for some excitement, as she receives word that her recently deceased grandfather has left her his (failing) drive-in theatre. She's genuinely interested in making a go of things, but she only has the weekend to come up with $25,000 or the bank will lay claim to the property. She doesn't want to let sleazy businessman J.B. Winston (played by the Mighty Monarch of Exploitation, David F. Friedman) bail her out, because he just wants to build a "super mall" on the premises. With the help of J.B.'s son, Brian (Richard Gabai), and assorted others - including scream queen Dyanne Lynn (Michelle Bauer) - she sets out to make this upcoming weekend as profitable as it can possibly be.
Only one scene, in which one character seems about to set another on fire, is at odds with the genuinely lighthearted approach taken by prolific B movie veterans Fred Olen Ray (director) and Jim Wynorski (executive producer) to this material. This viewer was expecting something explicit and trashy, and the movie delivers in that regard, but what he also got was a very loving tribute to drive-in cinema, and a nearly bygone way of experiencing a night out at the movies. "Bikini Drive-In" is very appealing, in its best moments, and is good for a LOT of titillation and some hearty chuckles. Certainly there is a great attraction in seeing a lot of vintage posters of B movies from decades past, ranging from "The Cremators" to "Invasion of the Blood Farmers". A cheery pop soundtrack is a plus. The finale is rather rushed, but it's sure to leave smiles on some faces.
Ray and Wynorski have great success peppering the cast with many new and old faces from cult cinema. These actors couldn't be more engaging. Ross Hagen, Peter "Orville Ketchum" Spellos, Nikki Fritz, Conrad Brooks, Gordon Mitchell, Hoke Howell, Forrest J. Ackerman, director Ray himself (playing DJ Randy Rocket), Becky LeBeau, Tane McClure, and Wynorski all make appearances; McClures' "car dance" and Bauers' massage are unqualified highlights. The assets of our female cast members are stressed at any and every opportunity, and some of the males get into the act, too, as there are a few sex scenes.
If you're a fan of the filmographies of Messrs. Ray and Wynorski, this is pretty much essential viewing.
A head shot of John Carradine is used for a key photograph.
Eight out of 10.
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