Mockumentary of training films by an untalented Russ Meyer fan
The hype surrounding SAFETY FIRST sucked me in: imagine a knowing spoof of those campy '50s training films done with beautiful nude women popping up throughout! Was I ever fooled -this barely watchable time-killer is incompetent, unfunny and not sexy to boot.
Problem is that "Mac Kelly" (IMDb unmasked him as actor Greg McDonald) is on an ego trip but has zero talent. Even his best friends forgot to tell him to keep his lack of expertise hidden under a bushel basket, but instead he embarrasses himself, and bores the viewer, for 50 minutes.
The gimmick is not Russ Meyer's famous comedy style or over-the-top melodramatics, which made him the most successful filmmaker of Softcore Sexploitation. Instead, Mac/Greg has absorbed Russ's cutesy narration (I remember vividly the laugh generated at the Continental Art Theatre back in 1968 when the voice-over began VIXEN with the proclamation "Bush country!"), abstract & pointless insertion of a go-go girl dancing topless or scantily clad for no reason, and his penchant for casting top-heavy girls. Talk about missing the point.
His biggest mistake is in casting: with a vast multitude of beautiful women and would-be actresses and models residing on the Left Coast, Mac/Greg has managed to round up a score or so of unattractive women. Even their breasts, some of which qualify as big enough, are not appealing. This is no mean feat, given the thousands of porn videos cranked out annually featuring drop-dead gorgeous girls who go XXX.
The sex in SAFETY FIRST is very, very timid: no frontal female nudity, a fleeting lesbian scene (blink and you'll miss it) and only some of the appropriate scenes crying out for toplessness actually delivering. It's cruel to say this, but several of the women this latter day Ugly George managed to coax out of their tops elicit the reaction: "put 'em back in" as far as I'm concerned.
Premise of including actually semi-useful instructions regarding fire safety, what to do in the case of an earthquake, etc., is about as interesting as the biannual "please gather in the lobby" irritating Fire Drill lectures I have to suffer through at the building where I work. It's on the level of "check the door (Mac/Greg substitutes "crack", hardy-har har) to see if it's warm before opening" or "crawl along the floor to the exit when there's smoke". Truly scintillating.
His special effects of people caught in a fire and the like are below amateur level. The jokey gore directed towards men (this show is supposed to give a "woman's" point-of-view) is ridiculous and unfunny, on the level of a Saturday Night Live sketch. In fact, I would like to see Lorne Michaels' reaction if Mac/Greg submitted this video as an audition tape - I'm sure he would turn it off and chuck it into the nearest waste basket after 5 minutes or so.
I hope the people who appear on camera actually got paid. The endless credit crawl at the end reminded me of that old Troma gimmick: Lloyd Kaufman routinely didn't pay the actors but offered them a "film credit" instead; the NY Mayor's Film Office warned young folks fresh off the bus about these unscrupulous hiring practices back in the '80s, but 30 years later he's saluted by ignoramuses across the world as a guy who helped youngsters (a la Corman). Go figure.
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