I pity the fool who makes an adult movie and simultaneously tries to create a "real" movie in the process. The filmmakers of COMMUTER GAME combine this basic error with a woeful lack of talent, and the result is neither fish nor fowl, a tough slog to sit through. Per the AFI Catalog covering 1961-70, it got scant notice during its theatrical life and clearly failed to receive any mainstream bookings.
The unhelpful "film historian" hack who writes notes for the Something Weird video box covers misidentifies the director of COMMUTER GAME and then makes a big deal about the wrong guy, who turns out to be the film's producer instead. As to his over-the-top praise for this junker, I will let you decide what you think.
We're in crypto-Joe Sarno territory here, not the wife-swapping craze he so thoroughly documented in several '60s films, but rather the "game" of cheating. Film gets off to a rocky start with a series of brief but boring & often pointless vignettes setting up the theme of suburban commuters arranging liaisons on the side in the big city. A female narrator appears and talks directly to the camera before launching her "knowing" and snide voice-over to introduce the dramatis personae. Oddly, after a reel she disappears and the film's structure does a 180, with the thesps now handling their own dialog -which proves not to be much of an improvement. It all appears to be due to either post-production tinkering or just sloppiness.
The convoluted and unrewarding plot line has two of the guys, Oakes and Ryan, out to humiliate their neighbor Dr. Rogers, because he's the only guy in their circle who's a prude and doesn't fool around. Local stripper Bubbles La Tour is enlisted to seduce Rogers and get him in trouble with his wife, which duly occurs after a tremendous amount of jabber, dull and unerotic softcore sex scenes, and a disastrous segue to bedroom farce that plays like a Special Ed high school class production of "Noises Off".
As usual with failed films, there are many, many things wrong with this baby. Once the awkward structure settled down, the most glaring error was in the direction of the actors. This is not an attractive cast -other than hammy Ruth Conti as Bubbles no one looks the slightest bit like a candidate for a skin flick (big mistake!). They were likely stage thesps in need of a buck, but are directed (Bubbles included) to give arch, affected performances that are an immediate turnoff. This isn't Restoration Comedy, folks. Worse yet, there are pregnant pauses between each dialog reading -it never flows naturally at all. Harold Pinter would approve, but it doesn't work here.
Since the film fails to deliver in the sex department, and is ridiculously tame for the adult theater market of 1969, it has to fall back on its story values and comedy, both woefully threadbare. Topping it all off, though this project had a budget, and even managed to film a commuting scene on an actually moving commuter train, the interior sets for a photographer's studio/bachelor pad and the like are hardly dressed at all, and shot so they look like big studio spaces. This is the kind of crap one gets with a 1-day wonder, not something striving to be a "real" movie.
Original jazz score by Mark Levinson would be a plus except that it becomes repetitive and is not properly matched to the action -at times it drones on as pointlessly as the usual library music. Only cast member that sticks out (literally) is Ruth Conti as Bubbles, but she's overweight and forced to wear pasties in several scenes, not just the striptease -ridiculous. Hey man, this is 1969 already! The poor staging and clumsy editing of the big "running around like a bunch of nuts" farcical climax is unbelievably bad, and then followed by extraneous, boring denouement scenes. Typical of low-budgeters, a couple of guys are cast in this scene who look completely out of place, and they are -simply the gaffer and assistant director gamely filling the roles. This ain't a SAG shoot, baby, so everybody pitch in!
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