Sunday, 17 August 2014
The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974)
What happens when you make a sexploitation flick and forget the sex? This movie, it seems.
I mean, there is a little nudity, most of it from lead actress Jo Johnston, who doesn't appear to have ever made another film. And there is quite a lot of talking about sex. But anyone who came to this film in hope of a boob-fest like the other two movies in this pack was in for disappointment.
Written (under a pseudonym) and directed by Jack Hill, who also gave the world The Big Bird Cage and Coffy, this is the tale of a journalism student who decides to infiltrate the college cheerleading squad and write an expose on this "last bastion of sexual oppression". Which is charmingly naive about how entrenched patriarchy is. Also either ironic or insincere, given that this is a sex comedy.
Of course, as our heroine gets to like (most of) the other women on the squad, and also to become intimate with one of the football team (neither he nor she seems to care that he's dating someone else at the time), she starts to rethink her expose.
If you're thinking to yourself "I bet her original intentions are going to be revealed to the rest of the squad at an inopportune time, but they'll ultimately overcome their rift" then congratulations: you've seen a movie before :)
So yeah, this is all pretty paint by numbers stuff, main plot-wise. I did like that it allows its female characters to be sex-positive, though I very much disliked a scene where two of them more or less nag the one virgin on the squad to have sex. If she's not ready, she's not ready.
The other thing that was mildly interesting was that every establishment character is to a greater or lesser extent ethically bankrupt ... but the one stridently anti-establishment character is the movie's biggest ass. Mixed message, or deliberate nuance? Honestly, I suspect anyone watching the movie when it came out was more concerned by the lack of naked nipples.
Nothing much to see here folks.