Code Red // 1974 // 82 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // July 22nd, 2010
"Who do I have to f*** to get out of this movie?"
Hey, you know the one about the girl who tries to get ahead in movies by giving, uh...you know...
Well, if you think about that story real hard and Google up some naked pics to go with it, then you can save yourself the trouble of watching Alice Goodbody, a thoroughly lame '70s sexcom that's getting a DVD release from Code Red.
Alice Goodbody (Sharon Kelly, a.k.a. Colleen Brennan, SuperVixens) is a waitress in a diner who meets a producer (Daniel Kaufman), who offers her a role in a movie. It's an epic musical, "The Life of Julius Caesar." Alice starts out as an extra, but gets derailed by an unfortunate accident. She despairs, her dream of Hollywood extradom shattered. But like a dim knight on a dappled horse, the producer rides her -- I mean, rides to her rescue. They're holding up shooting, and once she's recovered, they'll give her a bigger part -- only, she has to sleep with the production manager. Alice does as she's told, shows up to shoot her bigger part -- and fate intervenes with yet another accident. Not to fear, our erstwhile -- and horny -- producer has secured her an even bigger part post-recovery -- but now she's got to sleep with the assistant director. Good as Oscar gold, Alice comes through again, but yet another accident sidelines her. Don't worry, our producer steps in again, and Alice is getting an even bigger part, only this time she has to sleep with...
Do I need to repeat this nine or so times? It's a running gag that runs out of steam while the opening credits are still fresh in your mind. Alice sleeps with repulsive men in a series of increasingly unfunny scenarios, keeps getting her part in the movie elevated, and keeps having accidents. It's a vicious venereal cycle, and it couldn't be less amusing if someone were sticking hot spikes through your eyes while you were watching it.
It's too bad the filmmakers focused so hard on the "softcore" and one-joke aspects, because the film-within-the-film business actually has the potential to be funny. "The Life of Julius Caesar" is a parody of '70s rock musicals, particularly Jesus Christ Superstar, and the too-few bits we see of it are pretty dead-on, including snippets of the songs. Since it's a low-budget film (within a low-budget film), it's staged on the real-cheap, with actors in togas standing on risers belting out the lame chorus. If we'd gotten more film take-off and less of Alice taking off her clothes for her nauseating sexploits, this would have been a much better movie.
The lovely Alice is played by the lovely Sharon Kelly, whom exploitation fans might remember from fare like The Dirty Mind of Young Sally, Teenage Bride, Delinquent School Girls, and a couple of the "Ilsa" movies. She's cute 'n' perky here, if not especially sexy, and she approaches her scenes of feigned intercourse with enthusiasm. Sharp-eyed viewers will spot the ridiculously ubiquitous George "Buck" Flower in a small role, as well as Lorna Thayer, who played the snarky waitress in Five Easy Pieces.
Code Red sent over a screener, so it's anyone's guess if the negligible picture and audio will be improved on the finished product. We do get a decent package of supplements. The main extra is commentary with director/writer Tom Scheuer (pronounced "Sawyer" and producer Gary Maxwell. Both men -- particularly Maxwell -- evidently did a lot of work in the exploitation realm under different names. As Scheuer and Maxwell, Alice Goodbody is their only recorded credit, but both speak of other projects, with Maxwell mentioning a number of Harry Novak films. This is a really fun listen, particularly for those interested in low-budget "drive-in" movies of that era. We also get an alternative title sequence for the film (called Gosh here) and a trailer for the film. Rounding out the set are -- and I'm quoting here -- "Crappy Code Red Trailers" for other '70s sexcoms like The Statue, Group Marriage, The Working Girls, which gained a bit of fame a when it was discovered that Cassandra "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark" Peterson had a naked role in it.
Alice Goodbody is not a terrible film, just a terribly lazy one. Not half as clever as the interchangeable but inventive sexcoms Roger Corman's New World films churned out, it's like a hardcore film with the X-rated parts missing.
The commentary makes it worth a rental, but otherwise, Alice Goodbody is pretty guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Code Red
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 1974
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Alternate Title
* Trailer Vault