Judge Patrick Bromley ponders the erotic potential of The Golden Girls. You can color me aroused.
Under-the-covers in the City of Fallen Angels.
The very worst that late night soft-core has to offer makes the transition from the cable box to the DVD player, courtesy of Koch Vision Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
The "L.I.P." of Lip Service is actually an acronym—though for what is never made clear (the owner/operator's name is Linda, so that gets us a third of the way there). Linda (Susan Featherly, Animal Attraction III, Diary of Lust) is the blonde-headed head of a private detective agency that specializes in "sex cases"—cheating husbands and the like. She keeps stating that she's the "best in the business," and I'm inclined to believe her, because I don't know anyone else in that business. She's accompanied by two other blonde cohorts, British Sam (Zoe Paul, Illicit Lovers, Stripper Wives), and slutty Carla (Elina Madison, Illusions of Sin).
If at this point you're beginning to notice a strong resemblance to the groundbreaking Pamela Anderson chick-P.I. series V.I.P., you're not alone. Go with that.
So the big-boob'd blondes of L.I.P. (see? they changed a letter) get a case from Julien Paris (Brad Bartram, Bikini Airways, Sex Files: Alien Erotica II), the husband of the reigning porn queen (and I'll bet you didn't even know porn was a monarchy). It seems he suspects his wife Dominique (Vanessa Blair, Dungeon of Desire) of having sex with other guys, only not on film, and not for money, and not for large wholesale distribution. Regular sex! The harlot! In order to investigate the case, the L.I.P. gals are forced to infiltrate the porn world wearing only cumbersome earpiece cameras (which, by the way, have alarming video and audio capabilities). As Linda gets closer to Dominique in more ways than one (if you get my meaning—which you should, because it ain't that hard to get), she begins to uncover a murder/kidnapping plot deeper and more complicated than she could ever hope to grasp. Nothing a little getting nekkid can't fix.
Lip Service isn't just one of the worst soft-core films ever made, and it's not just one of the worst films ever made—it's one of the worst things ever made. In literally hundreds of years of manufacturing of any item of any kind, Lip Service ranks among mankind's lowest achievements. It's second only to Orange Tic-Tacs in the "what-the-hell-is-the-meaning-of-this?" department.
Okay, I'm being a tad overly dramatic. Too many slow-mo keyboard-and-trumpet-laden hump sessions will do that to a man.
What possible reason could a person have for buying, renting, or so much as giving this film the time of day? It's not well acted—and if you don't believe me, check out that list of additional credits above (though thank God for Sex Files: Alien Erotica II…there were far too many unanswered questions in Alien Erotica I). The few attempts the movie makes at humor are so smug that it can't even succeed on a "so bad it's funny" level. Plus, it's about as technically accomplished as a junior high video project; the camera stays on the actors just long enough for them to deliver one line each—it's coverage free.
So, who's to blame? Well, the director of Lip Service goes by the brilliantly unfortunate name of Art Carnage. Clever, right? Like Ralph Kramden's neighbor if he were a Garbage Pail Kid. Curious to see what other gems Mr. Carnage was responsible for, I checked him out on the Internet Movie Data Base—only to find out his real name is Ted Nicolaou. As you can well imagine, my disappointment was twofold: (1) that this is the same man responsible for movies I've liked, such as 1986's TerrorVision; and (2) that Art Carnage was not his real name. The crushing defeat of Lip Service continues.
There's no real way—or even reason—to evaluate the film's cinematic merits, right? So, let's just pretend you're considering checking out Lip Service because you want to see people doin' it. I'd strongly urge you to reconsider—the movie is only slightly more erotic than an episode of The Golden Girls. The first sex scene of the film is between two women, in which they roll around and flail their limbs a bit and occasionally touch the other girl's hair—maybe an arm when it gets really racy. That's it. The two are so visibly unwilling to touch one another you can almost hear them losing a game of "truth or dare" right before the cameras rolled. From there, we average a sex scene every eight to ten minutes or so, and they're awfully alike—a lot of waving arms and legs, a lot of head rolling, and a lot of sexalicious trumpet. Despite the fact that the disc jacket tells us the film is rated R, I get the feeling this is actually the unrated version (it's not uncommon for two versions to exist in this genre)—over half the film is sex, and there are no visible trims. Sorry…edits.
The performers are attractive (read: artificial) enough, I guess, though I can't shake the feeling that once we begin recommending movies solely on that basis then we've failed as a society. Let's just hand the Statue of Liberty over to the big monkeys now and save ourselves some grief.
The image presented on the disc is in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, but that doesn't seem to be the format in which the film was shot—the shot-on-video picture is drastically stretched vertically with no explicable reason, unnaturally elongating everything in the frame. If this was an intentional decision made during the transfer, it is utterly maddening; if unintentional, it's the most negligent oversight I've seen since the advent of DVD technology. Regardless of its humiliatingly awful content, the transfer renders the film virtually unwatchable. The stereo audio track is pretty terrible, too—it's clear, but very tinny and hollow. If you're able to navigate the disc's poorly designed menu (the layout is obscenely basic, but it's impossible to tell which icon you're selecting), the only extras on hand are a few bonus trailers. The highlight—not just of the extras, but of this entire lamentable disc—is a short promotional reel for Full Moon Entertainment, showcasing clips from films such as Puppet Master, From Beyond, and Robot Jox. It was like reliving my adolescence in two and a half minutes.
I'll admit that, like any grown person with an HBO subscription, I've witnessed my fair share of soft-core movies—though I assure you, it was just for the articles. Lip Service is not a good one. I've seen hotter snuff films.
I'm not looking to start any kind of political or ethical debate here, but is capital punishment still acceptable? No? All right then—breast reductions for all…and take away that guy's trumpet.
Give us your feedback!
Scales of Justice
Studio: Koch Vision
• Bonus Trailers
Review content copyright © 2004 Patrick Bromley; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.