The Bad Movie Report


It's February, times for Sweeps Month, when TV networks pull out all the stops to get high ratings for their programming. Me? I just take it as a signal to spend a month visiting the 'R' rated films of my drive-in youth. If you don't buy that reasoning, you can cynically consider it my reaction to Valentine's Day. In any case, THIS REVIEW CONCERNS VERY NAUGHTY THINGS AND IS RECOMMENDED ONLY FOR MATURE READERS. Now that I have your attention....

Girls Are For Loving

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In a remote, snow-covered lodge, a man and a woman lie near the fireplace, enjoying each other immensely. So immensely that they are unmindful of the three men outside arriving via parachute. Unmindful, that is, until the men burst into the lodge, guns drawn. The lead thug (Robert C. Jefferson, a black actor, as is traditional) barks, "Get off that couch and strip!" Our first clue that, once again, we are on Planet Ginger, home to Ginger MacAllister, "the female James Bond", and a land where sex or a naked woman is only a few frames away.

Unfortunately for the naked woman in this case, she is taken outside in the snow, tied to a tree, assaulted, then shot as a light plane lands nearby. The naked man is hustled onto the plane, then drugged. As the plane takes off, explosives planted in the lodge blow it up real good. This time, we're not dealing with petty blackmailers or a white slavery ring - somebody's playing for keeps.

Just another day in the Ginger householdThis means whoever's in charge of the good guys has to call in Ginger (Cheri Caffaro), who is currently being attacked by some beefy guy in her hotel room. The wily blonde adventuress merely keeps kicking him around (helpful adventuress tip: always store your nunchakus on the fireplace mantel) until he winds up in her bubble bath. This session in the Ginger Danger Room is interrupted by a call from series regular Jason Varone (William Grannel), who tells Ginger her country needs her (as her bubble-bedecked sparring partner removes her panties and enters her from behind - this is Planet Ginger, after all).

The kidnapped man (who is only ever referred to as Steve) was a minor functionary in the upcoming Asian-American Trade Alliance; his clothes were left in the destroyed cabin to foster the illusion Behold - the Anti-Ginger!that he was killed in the explosion - though if the kidnappers were trying to make it look like an accident, they probably shouldn't have left a naked dead woman tied to a tree. While the CIA brings Ginger up to speed on these events, Steve is undergoing the tender ministrations of redheaded villainess Ronnie St. Claire (Jocelyne Peters). Chaining him to an anchor in the middle of her swimming pool, the bikini-clad Ronnie alternately threatens him with a pistol and entices him with her body until she learns what little he knows, and then blows his brains out (which probably pisses off the pool boy no end).

What she learns is the location of the final negotiations and who's in charge: a career diplomat named James Whitney (Scott Ellsworth). As Whitney is known as a "swinger", it will be Ginger's job to get herself into his graces and protect him by bedside. Looking at a picture of the handsome Whitney, Ginger opines, "I don't mind giving my bod to him... for the flag." "But why?" demands the inexplicably angry Jason. "Let's just say I like to f*ck a lot," explains Ginger.

Cut to Whitney staring at a lobby card for the lounge act "The Scintillating Talent of Ginger MacAllister", headlining at the ski resort where Whitney is meeting the Asian delegate, Han (Yuki Shimoda), to hammer out the final details. Ginger, Whitney and Han account for three of the hotel's four penthouses; checking into number four is none other than Ronnie St.Claire. The head of the security detail, Clay Bowers (Timothy Brown) tells his right hand man Leo to check on the mysterious redhead's background; unknown to Clay, Leo is in Ronnie's employ.

No one will be seated during the Strategically-Located Towel Scene!Luck leads to a meeting between the two women at the hotel's spa, in which we discover that Ronnie is, basically, the Anti-Ginger. Both wealthy, swinging single types, the major difference being their approaches to sex: with the right man, Ginger will let herself go totally. Ronnie will hold back, letting the man know "I've had him, but he'll never have me", enjoying the control this gives her. After massages, saunas, and any other excuse to see the two adversaries in stages of undress, the discussion is left unresolved. On the ski slopes, Han and Whitney try to get in some toboggan action, but the bodyguard ahead of them hits the landmine that was set on the slope.

But enough of this action stuff, it's time for The Scintillating Talent of Ginger MacAllister! This is a lengthy sequence for her - two songs long. (In the previous movies, Ginger had been allowed to dance, but never sing) The first is a torch song sung She's sold millions of albums worldwide!while wearing some odd blue feathered costume on loan from Phyllis Diller. She then rises from her stool and opens the blue what-ever-it-is to reveal a white gown slit down the sides, and the audience begins making canned hooting and screaming sounds. Ginger eventually strips down to the proverbial pasties and G-string; she has certainly gotten Whitney's attention.

At Whitney's table afterwards, who should we find sitting next to Han but (surprise surprise!) Ronnie! To continue the table metaphor, Whitney seduces Ginger on a desk in his suite later that night while Ronnie, in the next suite over, drugs Han. Thugs kill the two incredibly useless guards left by Bowers and attempt to kidnap Whitney and Ginger - however, the slow motion thugs are no match for the action diplomat and his negligeed babe, who proceed to trounce them. Clay kicks the door down (too late - a motif which will plague the poor guy throughout the movie), then plunges into Han's room, only to find the Asian delegate and Ronnie missing; she's loading him into a snowmobile downstairs.

There's now no doubt as to who is behind the skullduggery, the question remains why, and Whitney provides an explanation: anyone owning stock in the companies involved in the Trade Alliance will realize a huge profit. From Han, Ronnie will found out where the final meeting is to take place, but she needs Whitney to supply the names of the companies involved. So, employing the logic which is the law in cheap action movies, Whitney and Ginger offer themselves up as bait near Ronnie's home base - St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands.

It doesn't take long for Whitney to get kidnapped, Ginger to wind up fighting another ponderous thug while topless, and My face is up here, pig!Clay to come running up too late, dash it all. Ginger meets Ronnie in a public market, to find out her master plan, which Ronnie is nice enough to set forth - she'll kill both of the captive delegates, destroying the Alliance, unless she is allowed to make her financial killing. Why? Basically, because she can.

Ginger attempts to follow Ronnie after the meeting, but she turns out to not be very good at it, as Ronnie spots her and breaks into a dead run. The best part about this chase scene is that, even though it is on foot, a vegetable cart is still overturned. Ginger gets caught by two of Ronnie's men, and is ordered to strip (because this is Planet Ginger), but the female James Bond tosses them her trick belt, which explodes, giving her enough time to run out and Clay to crop up (his timing is improving) and send the two bad guys to Dreamland. Ronnie, meantime, escapes in a seaplane.

Another familiar situation for GingerThus it is time for another Ginger tradition, the interrogation of the naked male bad guys. Well, not totally naked, this time, nor does Ginger use sex as a means of getting the miscreants to talk. Time is a-wasting, so she simply attaches electrodes to their wee-wees* and ups the voltage until they sing out the location of Ronnie's stronghold.

After that, things get a might confusing as Clay and Ginger lead a sortie on Ronnie's stronghold, only to be stymied by her gunmen; Clay heads back to the airport while Ginger forges on ahead, only to be captured (Supervillainess talk on Planet Ginger: "I want her spread, not dead!"). Ronnie, wishing to prove her superiority over Ginger once and for all, has the blonde forcibly stripped and tied spread-eagled to a fur-bedecked bed. She tells Ginger that this is a test, as her evil aide-de-camp Will (Fred Vincent) goes to work on our captive heroine with his tongue and a feather. If she can resist his advances (as Ronnie would) then they can rule the world Thrill to the Amazing Strategically Located Feather Scene!together, or something like that. But this is Planet Ginger, so she gives in to Will's ways and has the time of her life *. (Return taunt from our sweaty heroine: "Thank God I'm a great piece of ass and not a cold piece of ice!")

Somewhere in there Ronnie has time to kidnap the Secretary of Important Stuff's daughter to solidify her hold on the Alliance, while Clay rescues Ginger, in a sequence that comes treacherously close to being exciting. Ideally, this would provide the film's climax, but no, I'm sorry, we still have movie left. In exchange for the release of Whitney and Han in time for the Asian ambassador's arrival, Ronnie gets the full list of American companies to buy into and a letter of general amnesty; she'll hold onto the Secretary's daughter until those arrive, for insurance.

With her plan so obviously triumphant, Ronnie has an attack of supervillain ego and invites everybody to a party at her hacienda, including the newly released captives, Whitney and Han (after all, as Whitney smiles to her, "Business is business"). Clay and Ginger are there, too, and after a native dancer does a genuinely impressive number with a flaming limbo bar, Ginger takes center stage and holds everyone mesmerized (because she is GINGER, dammit!) while Clay finds out where the Secretary's daughter is being held. Yes, Ronnie is a particularly stupid arch-nemesis, as the hostage is in an open-air patio just off the main party. Once Clay trounces the single guard in a fight that once more almost reaches the level of exciting, he appears at the party with the freed daughter, which is the signal for all chaos to break out.

It is unknown why the sight of Clay cropping up with a bikini-clad girl causes people to run every which way, screaming and Okay, i admit it.  I wanna live on Planet Ginger.shouting, yet it does. Whitney and Will go at it mano a mano in the swimming pool, Han is probably in there somewhere performing leisurely-paced kung fu, but we are more concerned with Ginger, who is once more proving herself the Queen of the Catfight, tearing off Ronnie's gown and finally tying her down on the very same bondage platform where Ginger herself had earlier been despoiled. The dripping-wet Whitney gets busy with his former captor, and we find that Ronnie has been a very large amount of talk and little walk; the diplomat has her writhing and panting within minutes, because, as Ginger smugly tells her, "Girls are for loving." That said, Ginger retires to the pool house with Clay (that ultra-cool black cat, which must have gone over real well with drive-ins in the deep south). All to the tune of the pseudo-James Bond theme, "Girls Are For Loving" (duh). Soundtrack albums available in the lobby.

Girls Are For Loving probably marks the point where Caffaro come into her own as a performer; the tenativeness of her first outing in Ginger is gone, and small periods of discomfort and artificiality she evidenced in The Abductors have smoothed out totally; here, she is totally confident in her performance, and the lengthy number outlining The Scintillating Talent of Ginger MacAllister is actually pretty good. Jocelyn Peters, though certainly easy to look at (Ronnie likes to address her henchmen in the nude) is, as an actress, not up to the character's demands. This does have the effect of making Caffaro look even better. The character of Ronnie also has an added benefit of actually softening Ginger's character. In the first two films, Ginger's sexual drives seemed almost predatory; here, she's an emancipated woman, a "swinger". Timothy Brown, possibly best known to most readers as Spearchucker Jones in the TV series M*A*S*H*, would make a fine action hero if he had any action scenes to back him up.

This final Ginger movie tries to be more than its predecessors in more ways than one. The photography has been upgraded considerably, and the location shooting is handsome (though one can't help but suspect a Roger Corman "I want a vacation let's shoot an island movie" setup). This is certainly the best-looking of the Ginger movies - it's just a pity that its action setpieces still show poverty of a very different sort.

Oh my God!  They got Fritz!I've already ragged on the slowness of Ginger's attackers (I could have taken these guys down, and I'm an overweight, asthmatic cripple); the other fight scenes are faster, but still show a lack of anything approaching creativity or anything to engage our attention. The toboggan landmine explosion is full of enough fire and smoke, but the mannequin that is hurled in the air is past laughable. And this segment is edited so terribly close, the presentation so fast, that it is necessary for other characters to explain to us what we just saw. What was needed was reaction from the characters at the scene - instead we cut to Ginger's dressing room for the exposition. The fact that Ms. Caffaro is nude is intended to distract us from this shortcoming.

Ronnie's master plan is full of holes, just like the movie's plot, which twists itself into all sorts of interesting shapes to get Ginger captured. The villainous inside trader-style plot, for instance, would require a very low profile... which renders the killing of half the island's police force kind of.... well, stoopid. Letter of general amnesty or not. The accepted first rules of villainy include You don't burn the locals and You don't crap in your own back yard. Small wonder that after Whitney has his way with her, Ronnie is probably bound (no pun intended) for The Big Bird Cage.

Yet another familiar situation for Ginger.So, like a lot of movies we've examined here, Girls' aims exceed its reach - as an action film, it fails on any number of levels, and ultimately - sadly - it fails as a Ginger movie. With a nod to author John Norman and his B&D-laced fantasy novels, I've always referred to the Ginger movies as Bad Movies of Gor . The sleazery in the first two movies grew out of the central plot; here, our required sleaze seems almost an intrusion into the plot - or vice versa, more likely. Like the old ad campaign for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, they got action in my bondage film! They got bondage in my action film! And the result is far from the tasty confection you might have wanted.



The plot just gets in the way.

- February 6, 2000