Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Chatterbox! (1977) review
Candice Rialson (Penelope Pittman), Larry Gelman (Dr. Pearl), Jane Kean (Eleanor Pittman), Arlene Martel (Marlene), Rip Taylor (Mr. Jo), Professor Irwin Cory (himself)
Directed by Tom DeSimone
***WARNING! This review contains images of nudity***
The Short Version: The adorable Candice Rialson stars in this adult fairy tale comedy about a young woman looking for love and becoming an unlikely celebrity because of her talking vagina. Crude sexual humor abounds from Rialson's talking pound cake giving ample opportunities to showcase the actress in various outfits and, mostly out of them. Even at just 73 minutes, porn and cult film director Tom De Simone's bawdily playful showbiz sex farce shows signs of wearing itself out early on. However, a diverse amount of naughty gags and libidinous musical numbers keeps things tantalizingly fresh till the film reaches its satisfying climax.
During a lovemaking session with her boyfriend, Penelope Pittman, a beautiful hair stylist, discovers her vagina possesses a remarkable vocal capacity from singing to mouthing off a catalog of haughty quips. Wrecking havoc in her personal life, Penelope tries to cope with her wisecracking blunt cunt, her new-found fame, and find Mr. Right in the process. Christening her cootchie with the name Virginia, the two take their "act" to television which opens her up to further sexual misadventures.
Arguably the best movie about a talking, singing, sex-hungry vagina, this is the ultimate Candice Rialson movie to boot. Vivacious from the first scene to the last, Rialson is in and out of various sexy and 'barely there' outfits; and she wears that patented pouty look of hers almost as much. But this isn't solely a showcase for Rialson -- she shares the screen with her nether regions (which are never fully exposed). Furthermore, her uncredited genitalia gets all the best lines in a scenario that gives new, less threatening meaning to the legend of the vagina dentata.
The premise wears thin rather quickly, but once the action shifts to Penelope getting "exposure" on television, the film gets kinkier, the gags come quickly, and the film finds its second wind even managing a few sex themed musical numbers. At just 73 minutes, it moves at a brisk pace, too. Overall, the script explodes in an orgasmic display of cock and cunt jokes that reaches passions peak during the riotous final scene wherein Penelope and Virginia end up living happily ever after.
Rialson's acting is about the same as it is in her other movies, but she has an innocence and naivete matching her fabulous frame that one can't help but be mesmerized by (the male members of the viewing audience, that is). There's no lead up to her lower lips' vocal prowess, it just occurs suddenly right at the beginning. From there on out, she's in and out of trouble via Virginia's big mouth till a stint on television briefly gives Penelope a thrill -- successfully (if only momentarily) curbing her desire to lead a normal life and win back the man of her dreams, the bespectacled Ted.
CHATTERBOX! (1977) may go overboard with its near constant deluge of genital jokes and sexual innuendo, but there's a few familiar faces in cameos that will bring a smile to some cult film fans faces. T'Pring herself, Arlene Martel has forsaken Vulcans and taken an interest in Earth women in Tom De Simone's movie. Here she's in a cameo playing a lesbian dominatrix who gets turned on by Penelope after her hot spot jokingly puts a good word in. Taking Penelope's shorter than short working attire into consideration, who could blame her?
Flamboyant Vegas comedian Rip Taylor plays Penelope's equally flamboyant, homosexual boss Mr. Jo in what amounts to the stereotypical effeminate male salon owner. For fans of his schtick, the only prop he whips out is a handkerchief. Still, he's hilarious for his brief amount of screen time. Taylor also pops up in small roles in the box office gong, THE GONG SHOW MOVIE (1980) and in the Cheech and Chong comedy adventure THINGS ARE TOUGH ALL OVER (1982).
Comedic genius and doctor of crudity, Professor Irwin Corey is on hand as an on-air R rated Johnny Carson. He's onscreen about as long as Rip, but he fares better in that he indulges in his own innuendo heavy brand of comedy. The Professors bug-eyed brilliance can be seen in Troma's splendid no budget sex farce STUCK ON YOU! (1982).
Former porn and cult film director Tom DeSimone tackled his first mainstream movie with this AIP release. Reportedly based on an old, unproduced porno story, CHATTERBOX! (1977) was a success and DeSimone and producer Bruce Cohn Curtis joined forces once again a few years later for one of the best 80s horror films, the haunted house/slasher HELL NIGHT (1981). Chuck Russell, who later helmed NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 (1987), the 1988 remake of THE BLOB and THE MASK (1994), was an AD on CHATTERBOX!, and reunited with DeSimone and Curtis on HELL NIGHT as an executive producer.
If you enjoyed Paul Bartel's EATING RAOUL (1982), you'll likely want to swing with CHATTERBOX! as well. Both films have a similarly raw, quasi pornographic comedic aura. Bartel's movie is the trashier of the two while DeSimone's movie is dirty minded, but playfully skirts around its subject matter without ever getting too graphic. 1988s ME AND HIM was a male version of this story. For fans of Candice Rialson, this tale of talking private parts is a no-brainer. There are relatively few knee-slapper moments, but its barrage of bawdiness will likely keep a smile on your face throughout. You'll never think about the song 'Beautiful Dreamer' the same way again.