MGM // 2004 // 90 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // March 29th, 2005
Sometimes young love requires old money.
I only have one thing to say in my defense: The cover photo suckered me in.
Cal (Will Friedle, Boy Meets World) and Lenny (Chris Owen, American Pie) are a couple of twentysomething losers. Betty (Renee Taylor, Delirious) and Doris (Louise Lasser, Frankenhooker) are a couple of seventysomething sisters who have been cut off from the fortune their father made in the condom business. Cal and Lenny make the mistake of trying to mug the sisters and are locked up, but are surprised when the sisters drop the charges and invite them to their house. Cal, hoping to strike it rich, suggests that he and Lenny cozy up to the sisters, marry them, then wait for them to die. Little does he know that Betty and Doris are planning to take out multi-million-dollar life insurance policies on their prospective husbands then murder them and cash in.
I can remember when the National Lampoon name guaranteed at least a few chuckles. Doesn't really seem like it was that long ago, does it? Too bad that nowadays they'll slap the name on just about any piece of crap, and Gold Diggers is definitely a piece of crap. Trust me. Exactly what makes this such a piece of crap? Well, let's break it down into three parts.
First of all, there's the script, which revolves around the kind of story that Larry, Moe, and Curly could have wrapped up in about twenty minutes. The plotting is clumsy and crude, with a repetition of tired gags and scenes that drag on twice as long as is necessary. To make matters worse, it simply isn't funny. I'm sorry, but I don't find horny old women in lingerie to be funny, nor do I find it funny when those same horny old women start farting, or when they simulate fellatio on corndogs. I also don't think young guys squirming over having to sleep with horny, farting old women is automatically funny, nor do I think crazy old men who still wear their World War II uniforms and scream about Nazis are funny (except for that guy on Soap, of course).
The acting certainly doesn't help, either. I guess you could argue that the cast is simply playing down to the material, but if they're gonna cash the check, they could at least put a little effort into their performances. Renee Taylor and Louise Lasser are both awful (anyone with fond memories of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman should avoid this thing), as are Will Friedle and Chris Owen. (This is Owen's second trip to the National Lampoon garbage dump, so he might want to consider firing his agent. At least Friedle gets to roll around with a hot naked chick.) As bad as they are, though, Nikki Ziering, who turns up as Cal's dream girl, manages to be even worse. Ziering (you might remember her -- or at least parts of her -- from American Wedding) has only about three minutes of screen time and a dozen or so lines of dialogue (she's mainly here to expose her breasts), but she still screws it up. I do actually feel a little sorry for one member of the cast, and that's Carmen Twillie. Twillie is a singer (in the film she's cast -- oddly enough -- as a singer), and she sang backing vocals on Pink Floyd's A Momentary Lapse of Reason, so that alone gets her some sympathy from me, but not much. (After all, it's not like she sang on Wish You Were Here.)
Okay, so that covers the script and the acting. Now let's get to the man responsible for the whole fiasco. Gary Preisler is the writer, director, and producer of this piece of garbage, and while that makes him partially responsible for everything mentioned above, I wanted to single him out here because I think he deserves his own special dose of venom. This is Preisler's first film as writer/director, and we'll all be better off if it's his last. He's the kind of guy who makes you wonder how anyone could be stupid enough to finance his work. Guy comes in, he's got no discernible talent or experience, and there are people like me just waiting to rip apart the finished product. Yeah, that sounds like a winning combination. Preisler obviously doesn't know what he's doing. The movie is poorly paced, and people who constantly rely on gags for laughs should at least know how to stage a gag. I've seen Driver's Ed films that are more accomplished than this thing.
One more thing I'd like to point out. Early in the film, Cal and Lenny try to snatch a woman's purse. Lenny grabs the purse and runs, only to discover that he's also holding the woman's artificial arm. The woman is missing her left arm, but when she catches up to Lenny and starts beating him with her prosthesis, it's an artificial right arm. Pretty sloppy, that. (I'm not sure what it is about me, but I just like making the call on that kind of thing.)
Okay, so let's get to the disc itself. This movie was filmed on the cheap, and the transfer reflects this. Exterior shots generally look okay, but interiors are too often grainy and noisy, and the colors have a tendency to bleed. Overall, the audio sounds rather flat, and it only occasionally moves beyond the center channel; dialogue is generally intelligible, and all the farting comes through, but I'm not sure that's such a good thing. The extras aren't much, either. You get about six minutes of deleted scenes, four minutes of bloopers, an alternate beginning, and two alternate endings. Also included are three insipid "Gold Digging Tips" mini-featurettes (Nikki Ziering hosts two, proving she's not too skilled at reading from cue cards, either) and a trailer, as well as some footage of Ziering flubbing her lines while topless. Woo-hoo.
Oh, yeah. For anyone interested, the difference between this version and the theatrical, PG-13 version of Gold Diggers appears to be all those shots of Nikki Ziering's breasts. From what I could gather from the extras, she's clothed during her scenes in the theatrical version. Given the fact that her body seems to be the focus of this film's marketing, I'm wondering why the producers even bothered with the PG-13 cut. Then again, I'm wondering why they even bothered with the movie at all, but I guess there's just no understanding some people.
I'm not sure exactly where he's buried, but Senator Bluto Blutarsky has to be rolling over in his grave.
Guilty as hell -- which sounds like a good place to send it.
Review content copyright © 2005 Mitchell Hattaway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Nikki's Nude Bloopers
* Deleted Scenes
* Alternate Beginning/Endings
* Nikki Ziering's Gold Digging Tips for Men
* Nikki Ziering's Gold Digging Tips for Ladies
* Lenny & Cal's Gold Digging Tips
* Nikki Ziering: Backstage at the Gold Diggers Photo Shoot
* Official Site