22 July 2012 | Nodriesrespect
Chuck's Low Key Farewell to Fornication Films
Halfway through the '80s, as house lights were turned on all across the nation, reigning royal of fornication flicks Chuck Vincent took a final stand in the face of adult entertainment's extinction as a communally enjoyed experience with a goodbye batch prior to retreating into the alternative universe of R-rated cable fare until his untimely passing in 1991. Of these final four, VOYEUR garnered most critical acclaim, SEX CRIMES 2084 also scored admirably, although science fiction trappings proved little more than window dressing, and pretty much everyone hated BORDELLO, an unexpectedly cold and cynical view of gash for cash com-modification. Which leaves us with SEX DRIVE, conceived as a contractual obligation and casually overlooked or panned by almost every porn-reviewing publication.
Pilfering its premise from modestly successful 1982 Broadway show PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES, movie retains both its loose plotting and Southern setting for the sympathetic depiction of a lowly milieu over a single day. Roadside café Joe's Pumps & Eats provides the setting for loves lost and regained as grease monkeys fill 'er up, with all the sticky double entendre details that term implies, while downtrodden waitresses sling hash and make goo-goo eyes at customers to increase tips. Characters are quickly drawn in broad brush strokes and while the brassy hillbilly humor (reminiscent of Bethel Buckalew's unsophisticated T&A farces for Harry Novak) feels a little outside the director's comfort zone, he more than makes up for it in heart. Taking to the tone like a duck to water is Taija Rae as the loudmouthed but kindhearted Rita Jo, a stock character but infused with such infectious energy as to appear fresh. She picks up the slack whenever proceedings threaten to get stale.
Little more than another enthusiastic video vixen with an anal gimmick, Sheri St. Claire was all but saved from here today gone tomorrow small screen oblivion by Vincent who gave her glamor throughout his final four and even took her along on his concluding R-rated tour of duty. Her lopsided mischievous grin's perfect for the character of the chronically promiscuous sheriff's wife, stringing along dumb deputy Andy (Robert Bullock, tempering the role's brains in crotch stupidity with his innate charm) or luring away one of the waitresses' blue balls boyfriends (Italian American hunk Frank Serrone) with the promise of an easy backseat lay. Said put-upon waitress is sweet little workin' her butt off Jeanne, played with surprising assurance by lovely Melanie Scott, a very pretty blonde NY starlet who racked up well over 50 credits yet proved almost pathetically underwhelming in most. Just like she did however in what was easily her best film, Henning "Hans Christian" Schellerup's all time sleeper TOMBOY, she glows with a confident carnality and brings genuine warmth to the role of ingénue. Unfortunately, Sheer Delight a/k/a "Kathlyn Moore" (fruitlessly groomed for stardom in Revene's CANDY STRIPERS II) hardly lives up to the hype Sullivan's army officer initially imbues her with, warning newbie Abel (one shot Malcolm Zee in an affably wide-eyed non-sex turn) for "blueberry muffins and Piranha Patty", pretty much puttering away on the sidelines until it's time for her Big Scene - the climax, adding insult to injury - with four anonymous dicks poking through glory holes and brought to orgasm with dispiriting lack of lasciviousness. Even the music score - by Ian Shaw and Kai Joffe (regular Vincent contributors since his ROOMMATES and IN LOVE heyday) - bows out for this sorry spectacle !
Rae's still curvy figure (she would shed considerable weight on the way to stardom, not necessarily to her advantage) is superbly shown off during her kitchen encounter with Christopher Reeve lookalike Michael Knight, excellent as the bossy Rusty, forever bragging about his sexual prowess but prematurely ejaculating when Rita Jo finally relents. He panics, assuring her this has never happened to him before. Rather than shooting him down for being such a liar, she comforts him so he can once again rise to the occasion and finish what he has started. Classic Vincent. Although no stranger to the gratuitous sex scene, he also happens to include one of his hottest here when a mini van sporting the license plate SEX-DRIVE pulls up to the service station and its occupants give Abel a free show. Seasoned Sharon Kane growls like a caged predator and moves with the studied grace of an Oriental dancer as she thoroughly works over a barely glimpsed Buck Adams. Given the nature of the premise, Chuck's rightfully revered DoP Revene has to work mostly within the cramped confines of cars and trucks which does not allow him a lot of leeway (both literally and figuratively) to wow an audience.