Directed By Buddy Beale
Starring Tiffany Shepis, Beverly Lynne, Ander Page
"We're definitely better than the Lollipop Guild."
I'm sure I've groused about this already, but I've never really understood this whole 'softcore' sex trip- I mean, have you ever had softcore sex? I think I might have once, in the parking lot of the Ground Round, but I'm still not sure about that one. Still, there's gotta be a big, meaty market for the stuff, since Playboy (who produced this dizzy little epic) has a whole network dedicated to non-insertion sex. Still. In 2009. It's pretty crazy. At any rate, the idea of a hard 'R' rated flick about an all girl rock and roll band clawing their way to the top brought to my fevered mind classic cinematrosities like Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Desperate Teenage Love Dolls and Down and Out with the Dolls- hell, 'Dolls' is even in the title- so I was pretty excited to see this one.
Curses. Foiled again.
Vinyl Dolls starts the same way every movie about a rock band does- with the guitar player quitting in a huff, right before a major gig. They never play her songs, man.
"Fuck this band," snorts Alex-the-guitar player (C Ashleigh), "And fuck you, Samantha."
Samantha (Beverly Lynne) is the bass player. The one who says what everybody's thinking. You know the type.
So Alex splits, which is a serious snag, since she does it right before the girls have to play "12 sold out shows in a week!" I don't know if any band in the history of rock and roll has had a schedule like this. Certainly not a local LA club band. Certainly not a local LA club band that sounds like some half-assed cross between Janis Joplin and Kelly Clarkson. Anyway, this short-haired chick, Nola (Tiffany Shepis) rolls into town from Las Vegas- she's on the run from her drug dealer boyfriend, of course- and shows up last for replacement guitarist auditions. Naturally, she's the best guitar player they ever heard.
She gets the job, and they proceed to play said 12 sold-out shows. How she manages to learn the band's songs in one day is yet another curious mystery of Vinyl Dolls. Things are going swell for the band until the drug dealer boyfriend shows up, and then all hell breaks loose.
Luckily, Nola happens to be banging the local sheriff, who solves the only dramatic dilemma in the entire film with a couple punches to Mr. Coke Dealer's nose. Everybody lives happily ever after. Except for me, maybe.
Every scene in Vinyl Dolls is punctuated with a ten-minute phony sex scene. So, if you're just looking for story, you can get through it all in 20 minutes, which is merciful. If you really do wanna watch faux-sex (erotica, some might call it), then I'd say you oughta pay close attention to the band's drummer, Ander Page. I think she's got three grope-a-dope scenes in this one, and there's a good reason why she's so convincing in them- she's actually a porn star. Or at least she was -her trail ran cold around 2006, but not before she left behind a legacy of seriously raunchy sex flicks. It's a real gas watching her in the 'behind the scenes' featurette, talking about trying to get over her nervousness at getting naked in front of a room full of people for this production. I'm guessing her first ATM scene over at the Redlight Disctrict warehouse cured that up, but quick. Still, I mean, look at this face - is this a porn star face?
Clearly, Miss Page took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.
The other main actresses, Tiffany Shepis and Beverly Lynne, have taken less slippery slopes to the Playboy studios, bein' a rock video girl and a low rent scream queen respectively, but neither of them can act nearly as well as the lovely Ms. Page. They all look good naked, tho, and something tells me that mattered a tad bit more during the casting call for this one.
I think the most remarkable aspect of Vinyl Dolls, however, is the music. For a movie about a rock and roll band, the songs they play are about as far away from rock as you can get. Not surprisingly, a guy named Herman Beeftink" (!) wrote 'em all. They sound exactly like the work of one of those sweaty guys running around LA all day shoving their demos into the hands of any A&R hack they can find- "You gotta hear my new song, it's perfect for Britney!" You know the type, or at least you've seen them on TV. The music on Vinyl Dolls is the work of all those clowns rolled into one. Director Beale must either be 60 years old or deaf to buy into Beeftink's cracked musical vision.
Of course, despite all this, I still watched the whole thing. Why? Tits. That's why. Same as you. If you really want to see a phony all girl band frolicking around, tho, I'd suggest the similarly themed Heartstrings, from VCA. At least that one's got anal scenes.
PS: The movie's called Vinyl Dolls, yet the DVD cover prominently features a CD. That's not right.
PPS: Tiffany Shepis went on to become the coolest girl in the world.
Availability: Vinyl Dolls is available on DVD.
- Ken McIntyre