Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel
ORGAZMO (1997)  1/2 *

Written, directed, edited by Trey Parker. Produced by Fran Rubel Kuzui, Jason McHugh, Matt Stone. Photography,  Kenny Gioseffi. Cast: Trey Parker (the Elder Joe Young), Matt Stone (the other Elder), Dian Bachar (Choda-Boy), Michael Dean Jacobs (Maxxx Orbison), Robyn Raab (Lisa), Ron Jeremy (Clark), Masao ``Maki'' San (G-Fresh), et al. An October Pictures release. 90 minutes. Rated NC-17 (sex, language)

Whenever a multiplex schedules a 90-minute feature for just two shows a day, it means that the film is either "art" that does not draw mainstream audiences, or "dreck" that cannot even find an infantile public. Orgazmo is the latter.

Comedy is the hardest genre to make. Within comedy, the subgenre of parodies is even harder. Within that subgenre, spoofing films that are themselves parodies, intentionally or not, is a lost cause. This applies to a host of films, including pornographic, and especially cheap pornos. Orgazmo's intent  to parody cheap porno-flicks falls pancake-flat, though not cheesecake-flat.

Two young, clean-cut Mormon Elders are trying to spread the good word in Los Angeles. When they chance on the mansion-cum-studio of porn-maker Maxxx Orbison (note the xxx) the reception is rough. One Elder flees, the other, Joe Young, highly proficient in martial arts, fights Maxxx's goons. The sequence, meant to be funny, is not. Nor is it choreographed a la Hong Kong.

Maxxx, impressed by Joe, immediately offers him the title role in the picture he is shooting, the part of Orgazmo, a superstud and superfighter who has a diminutive side-kick, Choda-Boy. (A parody of Batman and Robin). For two days' work in his quickie, Maxx goes from his usual fee of $300 to $20,000. Joe refuses but then everyone has his price. He finally accepts because he and his fiancee Lisa dream of a wedding in the pricey Salt Lake City's Mormon Tabernacle. Joe's main stipulation is that there will be a stand-in actor (or phallus) for the sex acts.

Joe's name is, of course, a reference to the King-Kongish ape in the film "Mighty Joe Young." Maxxx rebaptizes him Joe Hung. Ain't all that funny?

The rest of the film is an aimless bore, clearly improvised from scene to scene. The flick is a mega-hit  that Maxx wants to make sequel after sequel. There's a kind of sub-plot about other henchmen of Maxxx's (he's a kind of Mafioso on the side) who take over by force a sushi-bar;  a bit more relevant is the relation of Joe and Lisa who regularly speak on the phone starting with "Jesus love you and I love you."

Joe, who majored in theater from Brigham Young University ,sinfully lies to Lisa by pretending he is extending his stay in L.A. to be in Death of a Salesman. Naive Lisa eventually comes to visit and...and...

I knew nothing about filmmaker Troy Parker but  finally found out that he is about 28, has been variously active in movies and is the co-maker of TV's series South Park. Since, on TV, I mostly watch PBS, the History Channel, old films and the better ones I have missed, I was unaware that South Park was an animation about little kids who use vulgar language, and that the shows have made Parker famous in some quarters.

Orgazmo does have a small sprinkling of jokes (the "best " ones verbal rather than graphic) which could bring on some chuckles depending on the viewer's standards for humor. But as an entity, this flick is plain Dumb and Dumber, part II of which, yet unreleased, was written by, guess who?....Trey Parker.

I suppose that the unusual rating of NC-17 was welcomed by Mr. Parker. It promises raunchy audiovisual excitement to potential adult audiences and to underage kids who'll sneak in. But in fact, the movie's sex scenes show no real sex acts and are so broad and un-detailed that they are as inoffensive as The Three Stooges, which the film does feel like.  The use of a toy-like, orgasm-producing ray gun invented by Choda-Boy (he has two scientific Ph.D. degrees from M.I.T.!) is also inoffensively shown. Nudity exists minimally, mostly as the sight of men's hairy behinds.

The bottom (no pun meant) line is that the NC-17 must be the result of the film's steady mockery of the Mormons. Otherwise, you can see infinitely more sexually explicit films on cable, including Cinemaxxx.


Copyright © Edwin Jahiel

Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel