Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bikini Bistro (1995)

Directed by Ernest Sauer
Starring Marilyn Chambers, Amy Lynn Baxter, Joan Geradi
Rated R

"It all comes down to the lack of moral fiber."
"I think there's some in the whole wheat bread."

You've got to give it to a movie that shows its first set of boobs before the credits are even over. For that alone, we've got to hand it to Bikini Bistro. Unfortunately, there's 79 more moments of alarmingly threadbare sets, horrible fake jazz, cringe-inducing 'humor', and a well-past-her-prime Marilyn Chambers to slog through before the evening is over. So I'm not sure that credits nudity is even worth the effort.

Chambers - sporting an odd, flippy blonde hairdo and dressed in some sort of matronly ex-high school art teacher outfit, is directing a Skinemax style softcore flick.
"Remember," she tells the dead-eyed beefcake actor, "It's not 'Let's freeze this moment like a TV dinner, it's 'Let's freeze this moment forever'."
So, it's not going too well.
"If I know directing would be this tough," she grumbles, "I would have stuck with acting."

Meanwhile, across town, business is not going so well for Amy Lynn Baxter, either. Baxter is Judy, ex porn star and current owner of Gentle Nibbles, a failing vegetarian restaurant.
"The formula I've come up with for this place just doesn't work," she sighs.
"Sure it does," says Floyd (Salvatore Thomas, Broadcast Bombshells), her wiseguy bartender. "Small portions, bland food, high prices. What could be wrong?"

Of course, there's an evil landlord who pops in and tells Judy that if she doesn't buy the store outright from him within four months, he's shutting the place down. Deciding that all the restaurant needs is a little sex appeal, she calls up her old co-star, Marilyn Chambers, and asks for her help.

I dunno, actors often claim that playing yourself can be more difficult than playing a character, and that may be the case with Miss Chambers, because she's fucking horrible at playing herself here. Anticipating the current "breastaurant" craze a good decade ahead of her time, Chambers suggests 'Gentle Nibbles' become 'Bikini Bistro'. Cue one of the lamest 'fixin' up the place' montages ever.

On opening night, Chambers wears mom jeans and a flannel shirt, while she hands out her old, used bikinis (!) from landmark films like 'Wet N' Wild Fantasies' to the new waitstaff. That's the hook, see. Being waited on by girls wearing Marilyn Chambers' old bikinis. It could work, I suppose. I once had an idea to market spring water that Pam Anderson spit in. I know, sounds gross, but those bottles would've flown off the shelves.

So, you get to see the waitresses change their clothes in slow-motion. Not the worst way to waste four minutes. Chambers get in on it, too, donning some sort of Fabulous Moolah outfit that showcases her meaty biceps.

So, as you might expect, things start going Judy's way, although the restaurant's first-night success is hobbled a bit by her staff's hijinks. Floyd shoves half the evening's take down his pants. Donna (Playboy playmate Isabella Fortea) claims to be the perfect waitress, so the muscle-bound chef, Ron (John Altamura), makes a bet with her where she'll have to take off one piece of clothing for every mistake she makes, and then spends all his time pulling retarded pranks on her. He shakes up the Perrier so that it spurts all over one diner, gives her porkchops to serve to two over-the-top vegetarians, and in another Wile Coyote-esque move, he ties an invisible string to a bowl of gruel and yanks it so it lands one guy's head.

Whenever one of these gags occur, a Three Stooges-ish 'Wah-wah-waaaahhh!' plays on the soundtrack. Incredibly, it makes these eye-rolling moments even less funny. Meanwhile, the other new waitress, Luanne (Joan Geradi, Rock N' Roll Frankenstein), ends up waiting on her old boyfriend David (Joseph Ballister, Vampire Vixens from Venus), which prompts an endless series of flashbacks showing them soft-fucking in various public places. Then there's the stuffy food critic, and the two cartoony weirdoes from the 'Decency Committee', including Bettina (Pamela Safaraba), an overweight woman. Every time she shows up, a tuba plays. Seriously, a fuckin' tuba.

Eventually, Judy soft-fucks the decency guy, Marilyn soft-fucks the critic, Donna soft-fucks the chef, Luanne soft-fucks David some more, they humiliate the fat lady and then give her a makeover (and then she falls in love with the landlord, accidentally saving the restaurant), and they nap the thieving bartender, splattering him with (yes, you guessed it) banana cream pies. And so everybody wins. Except, perhaps, for your brain cells. They most certainly lost this fight.

In summation: Sure, Amy Lynn and the Playboy tramps look good in their bikinis, but seriously, a trip to Hooters would be just as boner-popping, far less painful and, with a well-placed banana peel or two, probably a lot funnier, as well. Director Sauer started banging out Chambers softcore flicks in 1990 and is, amazingly, still at it. They do not get any better or any funnier as they go along. Yet, I have a pile of them here. Why? Dunno. I start thinking about Marilyn in Insatiable, and I get all confused.

Availability: Bikini Bistro is available on DVD.

- Ken McIntyre


  1. I watched this on cable when I was, well, probably like 13, and well I , um, "enjoyed it" alot.


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