Saturday, December 20, 2008

Party Plane (1988)

Directed by Ed Hansen
Starring Karen Annarino, Jill Johnson, Jacklyn Palmer
Rated R
Shop for this poster!

"Why do you have laughing gas?"
"Hey, my sex life is my own business."

From the genius convention behind Party Favors and Takin' It Off comes Party Plane, a tawdry little tale of a tiny airline and the strippers who save it. It begins, as it should, with three stewardesses taking off their clothes. The dialogue goes like this:

Suzy: "That doesn't make any sense to me at all."
Renee: "Well, you're a dancer, Suzy. It doesn't need to make sense to you."
Laurie: "Yeah, Suzy. I think you need a working brain to understand it. Now, I'm getting into the hot tub."

The stewardess hot-tub scene should really be enough, but unfortunately, they shoehorned a threadbare plot in there, as well. Condor airlines (which consists, far as I can tell, of one propeller plane, The Albatross), was founded by one Ace Condor, currently deceased, to service the Big Boy Condom company, who apparently needed a rickety old plane to deliver their rubbers. But when Big Boy Condoms pulled out of the deal (groan), it left Condor Airlines to flounder. Ace's daughter Judy (Karen Annarino), who inherited the airline from her father, decides its time to shut operations down. Scheming asshole Lee (John F Goff, last seen as the mincing dance instructor in Party Favors), Ace's old business partner, offers to sell it to their rival, Cartel Airlines. For a pretty profit, of course.

But wait! Just when towels are being thrown in, roly-poly copilot Humongous (Travis McKenna) shows up at the somber meeting to announce that a whole busload of conventioneers just arrived, and they need to get to the city, pronto. Everybody rallies for one last flight.

I should mention here that whenever we spend time in the actual plane, every single move is punctuated by cartoony sound effects. The pilot presses a button of some sort: Boing! Somebody puts on their seatbelt: Skwoosh! The propeller starts to spin: Whanga-whanga-whanga! Who did the sound design on this movie, Tex fuckin' Avery?

During the flight - although I use 'flight' loosely, as there's never any indication that the plane is actually in the sky, and I'm pretty sure the set is made of cardboard - one of the conventioneers pays blonde stew Laurie (Jill Johnson), $300 for her uniform. She takes it, and spends the rest of the flight in her underwear. So that's fun for everybody. It also gives them an idea for saving the airline: what if the stewardesses strip on every flight? Your mind just got boggled, didn't it?

And so, The Albatross becomes the Party Plane. Humongous auditions stripper-stews. The crews redecorate the Albatross with palm trees and lawn furniture, and there's bikini parties and topless mud-wrestling matches during flights. The passengers are the usual motley crew of weirdos, including an elderly dude in jean shorts, suspenders, and Tiny Tim hair, who travels with his two Asian girlfriends, Toyota and Nissan. There's a horny nun in there somewhere, as well. "Just fuck me already," she says to Lee. Lee, however, has other things on his mind. He still wants to sell the plane to Cartel, so he and Hank Chisel (Lew Horn) a master-of-disguises hired by Cartel, attempt, over and over, to sabotage the Party Plane. It never works, of course, but it does allow Chisel to don a lot of dopey costumes, including a Scottish guy, a teenage girl, A Mexican dude holding a chicken in a cage, and an Indian spring water salesman ("Straight from the Ganges, it's the world's purest water. It does stink, though.") Eventually, Lee and Chisel come up with a plan to blow the plane up while it's sitting in the hangar overnight, but it goes awry, and everybody ends up on the plane, sluicing through the friendly skies, while a ticking bomb sits in an overheard compartment. Will they all die a fiery death at 10,000 feet?

No, they won't.

Stupider than usual - which is really saying something, given that it was directed by Ed Hansen and written by George "Buck" Flower, Party Plane is a one-way ticket to brain-ache. Its saving grace is its brief running time: a merciful 80 minutes, even with the low-fi end-credits scroll.

The tits were fantastic, though. So you could probably masturbate to it, in a pinch.

Availability: Party Plane is available on VHS.
Buy Party Plane at Amazon.
-Ken McIntyre

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