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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm a fan of Robert Vincent O'Neil. He is best known for being the man
behind ANGEL and AVENGING ANGEL. Also this is the guy who penned VICE
SQUAD the best psycho pimp movie ever. Earlier he directed two movies
that I like a lot THE LOVING TOUCH (aka psycho lover) and BLOOD MANIA.
After seeing the above I had to lark out his directorial debut film LIKE MOTHER LIKE DAUGHTER. Well, this is a pretty poor movie shot on a shoe string budget. A lot of dubbing is used and its really bad. The plot is wanna bee gigolo Tony seduces bar owner Jamie and uses her to keep his swinging lifestyle & to pay off a large debt. Enter nympho daughter Kim and trouble erupts, the end. The amount of time dedicated to advancing the story is probably no more than twenty minutes. So in order to make this a feature length film a bunch of generally pointless scenes (full of gratuitous nudity) are thrown in to pad out the running time. Some odd stuff is thrown in as well like a guy in drag lip synching to Marilyn Monroes "diamonds are a girls best friend", a wackily stupid scene with the cop in the bar, a large party scenes that just appears out of nowhere highlighted by a nude girl bathing in a tub full of booze as guests poor cup fulls over her! Enjoy it for what it is, late 60's low budget exploitation.
60's exploitation hounds out there may find a few interesting tidbits in here. Sebastian Gregory plays Tony and you may remember him in the oddball HELP WANTED FEMALE. There's also a few uncredited cameos. Fellow exploitation director Greg Corarito plays the guy who gets to feel up a girl in a car. Lynn Harris appears briefly as a topless dancer. And former Playmate Victoria Valentino (Vicki Carbe) is the girl Tony picks up in the hotel lobby. And of course there's lots of nudity to recommend.
This is the first film of director Robert Vincent O'Neil made some
years before he moved on to more, um, respectable fare like "Angel" and
The story is a familiar exploitation tale from that era with a female night club owner marrying a somewhat younger stud (Tony Vorno), spending a lot of money on him, only to have him cheat on her, and eventually move in on her sexually confused daughter. This is a highly pedestrian plot. The only things interesting about it are the offensive gay stereotypes (the woman's best friend is a camp drag queen), and the insinuation that quasi-incest between step-father and daughter is somehow preferable to lesbian fumblings (although, of course, they show PLENTY of these lesbian fumblings). Oh yeah, and there's also a couple gratuitous rape scenes thrown in where the woman ends up enjoying it. But given the melodramatic (if predictable)ending, it is pretty hard to draw ANY moral lessons here. Besides, I always enjoy the bold-faced political incorrectness, moral depravity, and moral hypocrisy of this cinematic era--not because I agree with it at all, but because NOBODY in America these days has the guts to make stuff like this, even though they are ONLY MOVIES. (I'm probably in a distinct minority there though).
As a sex film or a mother-daughter fantasy thing, this is a complete wash-out. The actress playing the mother is age-appropriate for a change, but also completely unattractive (thank god, she mostly keeps her clothes on). The daughter (Vicky Todd) is only marginally attractive. I don't know how old the character is supposed to be, but Todd herself looks to be about thirty. The other actresses sometimes have nice bodies, but are not at all pretty(with the possible exception of the actress playing the daughter's blonde lesbian girlfriend). The movie doesn't even have much "metrosexual" appeal--Tony Vorno is by far the best actor in this, but he is a little paunchy and a rather unlikely stud. But even he is prettier than the hairy slob who plays the drag queen. This is not remotely sexy, but it's also not nearly as much "politically incorrect" fun as it could be. I'd recommend instead another film of that era, Lou Campa's "Sock It to Me, Baby", which is much more successful on both counts.
There is potential for this movie to be, if not good, at least
satisfying. All it would take is a complete script. The story, about a
scheming cad (Sebastian Gregory, who seldom played anything else)
seducing wealthy nightclub owner Jamie (Joann Morgan) for her money but
taking a genuine interest in her sexually confused daughter Virginia
(Vicky Todd), is built for sexploitation, but, as filmo70's review
points out, director and co-writer Robert Vincent O'Neill only spends
20 minutes on it. Filling the gaps are random scenes of sex and nudity
that have nothing to do with the movie (e.g., a couple getting busy in
a parked car; a three-way in a back bedroom during an overlong party
sequence). Even scenes in which Virginia is seduced by her roommate and
then raped, minutes later, by a hunky tennis instructor seem to be from
a different movie, introduced without any real context.
There also are frequent side trips focusing, surprisingly, on gay male characters: a swishy gay patron at Jamie's club and his tangle with some bikers; a drag queen Jamie's housekeeper, San Francisco Bill lip-synching Marilyn Monroe's "Diamond's are a Girl's Best Friend." Still more gay men and drag queens populate a party thrown by Jamie. This makes sense, I suppose, since San Francisco Bill handled the guest list, but it's still kind of odd given this movie is aimed at straight men. But don't worry guys, there is plenty of female flesh on display, and it's displayed early and often. (For the record, there's no male nudity, save an accidental flash of Gregory's rear end). There's also a fair amount of lesbian action, pretty much required in this type of movie, though it's filmed rather chastely, O'Neill cutting away before things get explicit.
Like filmo70, I've enjoyed O'Neill's other movies -- "The Psycho Lover," "Blood Mania," and even "Angel" -- so I guess I had higher expectations. I'll cut O'Neill some slack here as "Like Mother, Like Daughter" is his debut movie and there are some attempts at making it a bit meatier than the typical sleazefest. Though Gregory looks more like an ex-husband than a gigolo, he does acquit the part quite well, and Morgan really tucks into the role of Jamie. There are even some flashes of cleverness in the random sex scenes, like the way O'Neill shoots the "manual stimulation" of the woman in that parked car, explicitly implying the action without showing it. But taken as a whole "Like Mother, Like Daughter" feels more like a vague idea of a movie padded out to feature length with naked women and drag queens. On a positive note, I enjoyed it more than O'Neill's "Avenging Angel."
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