The story of this social satire and soap parody follows two rich white upper class families living in Beverly Hills, California. Recently widowed Claire is a once popular sitcom star, who dreams of a Hollywood comeback. She and her daughter Zandra are not very close, even though they live in the same house, so she turns to her best friend Lisbeth for comfort. Lisbeth is a socialite with her own set of problems. Her alcoholic husband Howard left her for another woman. Her son Willie is terminally ill and hopelessly in love with Zandra, who doesn't even notice him. Lisbeth's poor playwright brother Peter is in love with Claire, even though he just got married in Vegas to sassy To-Bel, a woman he barely knows. Meanwhile, Claire's houseboy Juan and Lisbeth's bisexual chauffeur bet on which of the two will seduce his cougar boss first. Several other plot points make things even more complicated. It turns out that To-Bel has a secret past. The ghost of Claire's husband Sidney starts ...
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Bartel satire soap
In the ritzy Beverly Hills neighborhood, Clare Lipkin (Jacqueline Bisset) is a widower haunted by the ghost of her husband. She and her daughter Zandra don't get along. Her friend Lisabeth Hepburn-Saravian (Mary Woronov) moves in as her home is getting fumigated. Lisabeth's brother Peter (Ed Begley Jr.) arrives for a visit with his new bride To-Bel. Juan (Robert Beltran) works for Clare and he's in debt to unsavory characters. Lisabeth's driver Frank suggests a different way to make money and then makes a bet with Juan on being the first to bed their employer.
Paul Bartel is a specific kind of filmmaker with his cast of actors, Woronov being his primary partner in crime. This is a social satire black comedy. Only I didn't laugh once. There are too many characters. It's an intertwining ball of sexual desires. The acting is deliberately broad and quite frankly deliberately bad. It gets tiring to watch so much deliberate fake acting that it becomes hard to distinguish from real bad acting. Rebecca Schaeffer's murder soon after the release also leaves a dark shadow hanging over this movie. This bundle of soapy interconnected mass of people holds no appeal. It's not surreal enough to be outrageous. It's not comedic enough to be funny. The social satire isn't sharp enough to bite. Bartel is not for everybody and in this case, it's not for me.
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