16 Sep

From Doggy Porn to the Oval Office: Linda Lovelace for President

Posted by Tim Fife | Tuesday September 16, 2008 | Reviews

The 70’s was certainly a great time for sleaze cinema. The public was finally not subjected to seeing stag films in someone’s basement or secretly trying to wank off to an erotic movie at an art house theater. And the amazing success of Deep Throat not only made pornography a suitable commodity but also made its leading lady Linda Lovelace a household name. Hoping to score big off of Deep Throat’s success, producers secured Lovelace for a mid-budge release called Linda Lovelace for President. Never before in cinematic history did an actor go from making dog porn to the oval office.

The movie opens with Lovelace wearing nothing but an army helmet, saluting the America flag while a warning to the audience pops on the screen; “this picture is intended to offend everybody-regardless of race, creed, or color.” The focus then shifts to a convention in the middle of woods with all of the weird and wonderful different types of people in America. Black Neo-Nazis, Polish men (wearing misspelled “Polund” shirts) making Polish jokes, and even the society of people who commit suicide for fun. The purpose of gathering all of these citizens together is to nominate someone for president that every citizen can agree upon. But nobody fits the bill quite right (Wolfman Jack and the Egg McMuffin were both nominated, but unfortunately neither appear in the film), but that changes after someone drops the name Linda Lovelace who is unanimously decided as a perfect candidate.

Linda accepts the nomination and proceeds to tour America to promote herself. After a short visit with her uncle Sam in a nursing home, Linda then visits several small podunk towns where she manages to find someone to screw instead of doing any actual campaigning. In a long series of comedic bits that seem to go absolutely nowhere, Linda fucks a Tarzan look-alike, survives a JFK-style assassination attempt, and hosts a birthday party for a Nazi.

The movie is amazingly devoid of plot, even though it feels like a lot is happening and at moments you feel a little lost. The movie almost plays out like a series of sitcoms strung together with lots of short, trivial vignettes strung together. It also tries its best to appear offensive, in an attempt to satiate the public who came to jack off to a Linda Lovelace movie and were more offended by the fact that the movie is essentially an R rated movie with no sex and very little nudity. The majority of the humor is of early burlesque Mad magazine caliber, with lame sex jokes that only someone in middle school could really find funny.

Clearly trying to cash in on the popularity of Deep Throat, the producers first scored Lovelace for the movie and then wrote the plot around the fact they had her in the movie. Producer Arthur Marks was working on the classic blaxploitation movie Bucktown at the same time and hired Dick Donner (The Omen, Superman, Lethal Weapon) to direct. Donner quit after just two days of filming as he was afraid his reputation was going to ruined, and Marks then hired I Dream of Jeannie director Claudio Guzman to fill in. Marks has also mentioned that he wanted the script to be controversial so it would attract a larger audience.

Linda Lovelace for President is very similar to the cult Cannon pictures series of Happy Hooker films where B and C list stars play embarrassing roles, telling lame, juveline jokes. The most notable of the bunch is Scatman Crothers in a small pre-Shining and One Flew Over the Cookoos Nest role. The most embaressing of the bunch is Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees who drives Linda’s tour van wearing big coke bottle glasses who is forced to sing happy birthday to a nazi and have giant breasts shoved in his face. Jesus!

The movie, despite all the complaints, can be an enjoyable slice of 70’s kitch. Lovelace looks much more attractive than she did in her previous pictures, and although her acting is pretty wooden, her pseudo-erotic scenes are the most enticing and realistic part of the film. After watching this, its not too hard to see why America was taken in by Lovelace as an icon for America’s burgeoning cinematic sex revolution.

The recent Dark Sky release includes a good transfer of the film in anamorphic widescreen. The DVD has just one bonus feature, an interview with producer Arthur Marks about his troubles with the film, particularly with director Guzman and with the ever expanding ego of Linda Lovelace. A recommended buy for anyone into cheap, tasteless sex comedies.

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