Scorpion Releasing // 1972 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // May 16th, 2013
A detective's lot is not a happy one.
As a long-time fan of Monty Python, it's exciting for me to find something from the members that I've never heard of, so I waited with anticipation to see Rentadick. I knew going into it that, though it was originally written by John Cleese and Graham Chapman, they successfully lobbied to have their names taken off of it, but I still thought that a kernel of their comic genius might have seeped through. Boy was I wrong. I really wish I'd never known whose idea this was.
Jeffrey Armitage (Donald Sinden, Doctor in the House) has a couple of problems. First, he thinks his wife, Utta (Julie Ege, On Her Majesty's Secret Service), is cheating on him. Second, he's developed a nerve toxin that causes temporary paralysis from the waist down and a number of nefarious groups are after it. To solve both, he hires the top flight detective agency known as "Rentadick." Unfortunately, they're a little more inept than advertised.
The title may make viewers think this will be some kind of bawdy "nudge nudge wink wink" comedy that remains ever-popular in England. The name, however, is the only particularly racy thing that exists in Rentadick, which contains some of the most mind numbing 90 minutes I've ever spent. The comedy is as broad and as dumb as it can get, with falling down the order of the day. Sure, sometimes people get water splashed in their faces (true comedy gold, that), but with the nature of the neurotoxin, there's more scenes of people scooting along the ground like a dog with worms than ever belongs in a movie.
There are few points of interest in the movie, but they do exist on a certain level. There are moments when jokes sound like they came from Cleese and Chapman, but every one of them is undermined by the additional writing of John Fortune and John Wells, as well as the ham fisted direction of Jim Clark (Madhouse). The theme song is terrible enough to own, so there's that, but it's hardly a reason to watch the film. Maybe there is some appeal to viewers who love terrible comedy, but I didn't laugh once, genuinely or out of mockery, and when judging a comedy, there's no more damning statement.
The DVD for Rentadick comes from Scorpion Releasing on the Katarina's Kat Skratch Cinema action collection. To its credit, the film looks good, with a strong 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. Colors look good and flesh tones are natural with a good grain structure. The sound, however, is pretty awful, with dialog that is sometimes booming and sometimes inaudible. There's no background noise to speak of, but it's mixed terribly. Thankfully, the only extras are the bookends with Katarina Leigh Waters and a few trailers for other Scorpion releases.
What to say about one of the worst comedies I've ever seen? As it turns out, not much. I'd much rather just forget this travesty ever happened than think about it a second longer, so take my advice and steer clear of this pile of garbage. I suffered through it so you don't have to.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Scorpion Releasing
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 1972
MPAA Rating: Not Rated