Fox // 2010 // 109 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 19th, 2010
Assume the position.
Three beautiful women, a desert, a corpse and a world record in cleavage exhibition. Sounds like a slam-dunk, huh? Not so fast.
The three women: Trixie the stripper (Julia Voth), Hel the corrupt businesswoman (Erin Cummings) and Camero (America Olivo). We meet them toiling away in the middle of the desert, apparently fresh from some kind of big heist. Whatever it is they have, many unsavory characters are after it as well. One by one, they'll come at the trio. Calling upon their wiles, violence tendencies and perhaps some lesbian loving; our heroines will beat back the encroachers.
There will be explosions. And bitch slapping. Oh the bitch slapping!
Bitch Slap pissed me off. If you love it, I wouldn't fault you. It's that decisive an undertaking, one of the rare releases that drops viewers into two different categories, you'll either love it or hate it. I don't see anyone just merely liking it.
Here's why I have little use for director Rick Jacobson's effort at making a B-movie classic: he tried too hard. Sure, that's typically a trait we look for in our filmmakers, give it the old college try, don't do it for the paycheck. But hitting the other extreme can be just as annoying, and Bitch Slap goes there, place-kicking all molecules of subtlety into orbit and laying the grindhouse schtick on thick. Here's the rub, though, Bitch Slap is way too slick to be considered a grindhouse B-movie and not nearly trashy enough.
A good illustration of Bitch Slap's blue balls is the big "get-all-the-girls-wet-scene." It's one of the big "erotic" centerpieces of the film and there is lots of slow motion and camera shots that linger on wet cleavage and it goes on and on. The reason the girls are doing it doesn't make much sense, but the scence there and the purpose is obviously to titillate. The whole thing is actually relatively tame (at least as far grindhouse-ish flicks go) and is characteristic of the rest of Bitch Slap's all-style/no-substance motif. Anyone hoping for a flesh-fest or such will come away disappointed.
The action stuff is just as vacuous. There are explosions and some scrapes and scuffles, and, eventually, a drawn out final throwdown that lacks any kick because one of the combatants just walked away from a car that got nuked by an RPG.
Then you have the plot, a needlessly complicated yarn that ends with a twist everyone will see coming, which utilizes way too many flashbacks to tell a migraine-inducing story. Again, slick, but not nearly as clever as the filmmakers would have you believe.
The DVD: a clean 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen that suits the hyper-style of the film well, a pounding 5.1 Dolby Digital track, commentaries from the stars and director, and a very, very good making-of featurette.
Flash, sizzle, and...nothing else.
Guilty. Enjoy the slap.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Official Site