Thursday, March 5, 2009

Takin' It All Off (1987)

Directed by Ed Hansen
Starring Candie Evans, Kitten Natividad, Buck Flower

"Oh, great, here comes the resident douchebag. Fuck off, banana sucker."

Takin' It All Off is strange for a lot of reasons, but perhaps the most prominent is that it's actually two (terrible) films at the same time. On the one hand, it's a direct sequel to 1985's Takin' It Off. In fact, it begins with TIO star Betty Big Ones (Kitten Natividad), now "the world's most famous stripper", zooming around in a limo while she tweaks her nipples. But then it abruptly cuts to a stripper school taught by a mincing John F Goff and attended by porn star Candie Evans and Brit Page 3 girl Gail Harris. And that, of course, is exactly the scenario and cast of Hansen's other '87 production, Party Favors. So what, exactly, was Ed Hansen trying to do here? Did he think no one would notice?

I bet that's exactly what he thought.

Becky LeBeau (Joysticks, Hollywood Hot Tubs) stars as Becky (easier to remember that way), who has started this free-to-attend erotic aerobics school. While admission is gratis, the girls must agree to give Becky 20% of their earnings after graduation in perpetuity, which seems a little extreme to me. However, since no one has a job yet, the school is in debt, and if they don't come up with $4,000 in 30 days, they'll get shut down. Obviously, they need stripper jobs to save the school.

But first, the girls all take a shower. And then, somewhere else entirely, Kitten takes a shower. So there's that.

Allison (Candie Evans) has come to LA from god knows where to be a professional actor/dancer. Her dad (Buck Flowers) sold the hog farm to pay for her lessons, and they have come to naught, so as a last ditch effort, she shows up at Becky's school, with Buck in tow. A topless Becky waltzes in and asks Allison to audition, so she slips into a pink leotard and dances around. Everybody loves it, and she joins the gang. Then Elliot (Goff) announces that he's got them all an audition with his friend Bobby, who owns a strip club. They all trundle over to Bobby's patio (the same patio that served as a fat farm in Takin' It Off), and all the girls perform strip routines - in real time, mind you - except for Allison, who can't bring herself to bare any flesh.

Bobby is disappointed, but tells Eliot he'll hire the whole crew if Allison whips 'em out. Elliot spends the month trying to train Allison in the art of top-doffing, but it's an uphill battle. In the meantime, she falls in love with the towel boy, Adam (Geno Hart; his twin brother Dash co-stars as a moron). Becky remembers that Betty Big Ones had the same healthy aversion to public nudity once, and that she got hypnotized to get over it. Elliot tells Becky he'll call her and ask her about it. This gives Hansen the golden opportunity to insert several minutes of Kitten's strip routine in the first movie. In an editing choice worthy of Ed Wood, Betty walks off the stage naked and then enters her dressing room clothed and with a different haircut.

Elliot asks Betty about the hypnotism, which gives Hansen yet another chance to recycle footage, this time of that crazy fuckin' doctor Lucifer Chaser. He makes a rare housecall to see Allison, and hypnotizes her while "Boing!" noises are heard on the soundtrack. The trick works, and Allison does her first striptease on the patio. This is followed by another dance from Kitten, this time to a cheeseball metal song.

Here's the problem, though: now every time Allison hears the Takin' It Off theme song, she strips. Even at a restaurant, or the laundromat, or in the middle of a park, in front of nuns (and a black guy dressed up like a robot)! Clearly, this cannot go on, so Eliot flits off to find Lucifer so he can reverse the curse. Betty Big Ones suggests that Alison take a long, hot shower while they're waiting. And so she does.

Lucifer gets arrested for inciting pagan orgies at the old folk's home, so he cannot reverse the hypnosis spell on Allison. He gives the cops the slip, and yells something about "desire reversal' to Betty on the way out. And then they all go to Bobby's club for their big debut show. Will Allison ever be free of her curse? Will she find true love with the retarded towel boy? Will we find out 'desire reversal' means? Will it turn out to be fucking stupid? Will the cops finally catch up with the elusive Dr Chaser? And is this whole shoddy mess worth the gargantuan effort it takes to sit through it?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, no.

Seriously, even Ed and Buck had to be a little embarrassed with this one. Total junk. I'll give 'em one thing, though: they did not cheat on the title. There's a lot of fuzzy 80's bush on display. Oh, and LeBeau's tits are amazing, even if her acting is not.

Availability: Takin' It All Off is available on VHS.

-Ken McIntyre

1 comment:

  1. The best scenes...
    1) Kitten's opening sashay down a flight of steps and subsequent limo ride
    2) Kitten's amazing shower scene
    3) "Grab that big boob, Murphy!"
    4) "Swamp water liquor alligator gumbo"
    Other than those moments, there's really no reason for this thing to exist.


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