Case Number 08982


Troma // 1978 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 4th, 2006

The Charge


Opening Statement

You know what saying is overused? "Just when I though I saw everything, [BLANK]." That BLANK could be filled in with "I watched two monkeys throwing root beer at a sheep" or "the other day I caught my grandfather tap-dancing in spandex" or "the moon cracked open and a robot pigeon flew out, speaking French." For me, it goes like this: "Just when I though I saw everything, I saw Acting Out."

Facts of the Case

It's 1978 and these two guys named Carl Gurvich and Ralph Rosenbaum come up with the bright idea of making a documentary about regular people's sexual fantasies. They gather an eclectic mix of bodily fluid daredevils on a picturesque manor, hire some actors, and turn their cameras on. Whatever the fantasy, the film crew is there to provide the folks with the resources to get it done.

We're just talking threesomes, right? Isn't that the universal fantasy? Please. Acting Out takes your "threesome," urinates on it, covers it in fecal matter, dresses it up like a circus dwarf, straps it to rocking chair, and rolls it down a plastic slide covered in molasses. No, what these people drum up exceeds anything Cinemax could throw on at 1 a.m.

For nearly 90 minutes, you'll be subjected to a plethora of fantasies, ranging from straightforward (making love to one's psychology professor) to "what the @#$%?!!!" The filmmakers lay over some narration to give this "sex-umentary" a flavor of empirical professionalism, and each partaker in the fantasy talks a little about why he or she is doing this.

So grab the kids, get some snacks, and snuggle in for a nice night of wholesome entertainment. Just be sure to pop the popcorn with Crisco oil. That joke will make sense by the end of this review. And you'll hate me for saying it.

The Evidence

Hoo-boy, this one is a doozy. Troma has certainly outdone itself with this release. Where they found this film, I have no clue, but I'm willing to bet they had to make it past a padlock and a Doberman to get it. This "documentary" is unadulterated '70s sex trash, and the attempts to make it less-exploitative by the filmmakers are a joke. They try to use a pile of human anthropology-speak at the end of the film to relay how these fantasies, no matter how stupid and depraved, were manifestations of being human and so on and so forth. Yeah, right. There's about as much interest in deciphering the human condition in this film as there is in a Lysol commercial. It ain't deep. What it is, though, is insane.

Here now is a sampling of the fantasies that await you in Acting Out, complete with a brief description and a "nausea" rating:

* Marcia
This young lady chose to be tied to a gurney and probed by male orderlies. Surprise! It freaked her out.
NAUSEA RATING: "I feel dirty."

* Genie
Another young woman fantasizes about making it with her teacher. Certainly one of the more "mainstream" of the fantasies, but the outfit she was wearing was godforsaken.
NAUSEA RATING: "Someone pass me the Pepto."

* Cia
This lady is out of her mind. She envisions sex on the astral plane. This doesn't translate well on a visual medium like film.
NAUSEA RATING: "Uh, I'm confused."

* Andrea
Andrea wants to score with an entire football team. That's what the young people of today need -- aspirations!
NAUSEA RATING: "Um, you've got some between your..."

* Horny Old Guy
Awesome, a 63 year-old pervert making out naked with a woman half his age!
NAUSEA RATING: "Goodbye digestive system!"

* Barbara Jo
She and her husband perform a long-held fantasy where she plays a nurse and he's a patient suffering from impotence. The cure? Bondage and domination. And Advil!
NAUSEA RATING: "Mom, Dad, I saw this movie over at Ted's last night...and you were in it."

* Sterling
Brother just wants to pretend to be a paperboy and make it with five rich, white girls.
NAUSEA RATING: "Special delivery! Lunch!"

* Ugliest Transvestite Ever
This dude has dreamt about dressing as a woman and taking another woman home with him, and seeing her face when she finds out his true gender. It happens, and you get to watch it.
NAUSEA RATING: "I think I just threw up a little in my mouth."

* Pilgrim Boy
Now things get interesting. This gentleman has a very intricate fantasy: it's Pilgrim times, men are trapped in the stockades, and this guy tickles each of the prisoners' genitals with a feather.
NAUSEA RATING: "Full-on, intercontinental, ballistic, projectile vomiting."

* John and Karen
Try this one on for size: these two make love in a funhouse surrounded by clowns.
NAUSEA RATING: "Wh-where am I?"

* Greg, the Crisco Kid
Things start normally enough as Greg maps out his fantasy, but wait until you get to the part where he wants to use Crisco oil as a lubricant'll let you surmise the destination of his appendages.
NAUSEA RATING: "My esophagus has been severely burned by my own stomach acid."

* The Man in the Mirror
Finally there's this fella, enamored with...himself. So, the producers stick him in a room surrounded by mirrors and let him go to town. The name of that town? Mybrainisirreversiblyscarredville.
NAUSEA RATING: "I think that's a piece of my colon..."

I've got nothing else to say. This flick is just off-the-charts whacked. You want erotic? You'll be more titillated doing a self-examination for testicular cancer. Give this a spin only if you're brave or bored. (Bonus points, though, for being the first film I've ever seen with the line "pleasant and aimless orgy.") Extras include interview footage with the Internet's Mr. Skin, the proprietor of a leading celeb nude site, some bonus lesbian hijinks, and a helping of Troma trailers.

Closing Statement

A whole lot more visuals swirling around in the subconscious that need to be purged now. Thanks, Troma.

The Verdict

Guilty of...whatever. Just guilty, dammit.

Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 75
Audio: 80
Extras: 80
Acting: 60
Story: 50
Judgment: 57

Perp Profile
Studio: Troma
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 1978
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Interview with Mr. Skin
* Bonus Nudity
* Trailers

* IMDb