Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Malibu Express (1985)

So Malibu Express is the first film Andy Sidaris made.  But it's not the first one that I chose to watch from this DVD set.  The reason for that was pretty simple: Hard Ticket to Hawaii is way more fun (I've actually seen all his films before; I just haven't watched my DVDs yet).

On re-watching this film however, I found my decision also made more sense from a thematic perspective.  Hard Ticket is pretty much the 'archetypical' Sidaris film, while Malibu Express is a bit of an outlier in his catalogue.  I mean sure, it's like all the others some ways - having a nonsensical plot, atrocious dialogue and masses of gratuitous nudity, for instance - but there are some significant differences.

Whereas most of Sidaris's films feature an ensemble cast of men and women working for a secret government agency, you see, Malibu Express focuses solely on Cody Abilene.  Cody's a private investigator: basically think of a blonde Magnum P.I., except not very good at his job, and even more irresistible to women.  And I do mean irresistible - there are points in the film where even Cody gets fed up of women throwing themselves at him.

Cody gets hired to investigate a wealthy family who may or may not be involved in selling computers to the Soviets.  Or at least, knowingly shipping them to "our so-called allies, who then sell them to the communists".  His method of investigating seems to mostly be to just hang around the house under a flimsy cover story, sleeping with any hot ladies that happen to pass by.  While Raymond Chandler is credited with the advice "When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand", I suspect Sidaris would have phrased it as "When in doubt, get some boobs on the screen".

Ultimately, despite the amount of time he spends bedding women, Cody more or less stumbles into what's going on, allowing the film to have some "action" sequences.  To be fair to Sidaris, the fact that I need to put action in quotes appears to be mostly deliberate: the film really hammers home that Cody can't shoot worth a darn, and the bad guys he encounters are even less competent than he is.  On the other hand, they go on well after the comedic value of "these guys are all useless" has been exhausted.

Eventually, Cody "solves" (for certain definitions of the term) the mystery, leading to a Poirot style "I've gathered you all here today ..." sequence.  Even in this, Sidaris manages to work in some cheesecake.  Frankly, any faint hint of actual titillation is well and truly gone from the film by this point: the incessant barrage of boobs having just reduced me to a fit of giggles with every more and more contrived excuse to trot them out.

As nonsensical as Hard Ticket to Hawaii, but a good deal less fun to re-watch, Malibu Express is not a film I could recommend unless you're a 13 year old boy with no access to the internet.  In which case, how are you reading this review?

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