Starring Joy Somers, Camille Solari, Shay Astar
"Are you discriminating against a perfectly good epileptic hooker?"
Wholly improvised comedies are being churned out a rapid pace these days. Dunno why. Maybe screenwriters are dicks. It's alright though, because when you've got the right crew of quick-witted, with-it actors, they can create something funnier than the most tightly-scripted, well-rehearsed Hollywood production. You do, however, need a certain amount of polish and continuity to keep things together, or it all turns into Youtube-y mush. The 95% improvised Hookers Inc, shot on a shoestring over a six-month period in 2006, rides that fine line between genius and amateur. It's episodic and ill-planned and would probably have made more sense as a serious of loosely connected webisodes. Luckily, it's also got the greatest half-naked duo since the Crazy Babysitter Twins in Starship and Starshyp, so cohesion is a minor quibble.
Director Tim Pingel apparently spent his first couple years of film-school working a side-job as an escort driver, and he's used his experiences in the sex-trade as a taking-off point for Hookers Inc.
The story is about two fledgling filmmakers, Slim (Pingel) and Stew (Matthew Dowling, a sort-of supersized Seth Rogan/Dana Snyder mash-up) with a strip club habit, who snag a job driving escorts around for a crazy-fro'd, low-level pimp named Hollowpoint (Kareem Elseify, RIP). It's never really explained how their arrangement works, but apparently if they bring Hollowpoint enough money, he'll introduce them to a foreign-backed movie producer who can green-light their project, an interracial porn/action epic called Black Cock Down. They figure if they meet the right girls, they can form their own escort company, and make even more dough. They already have one hooker on the payroll, Apple Martini (Shay Astar), but are looking to expand their business.
One night at Jumbo's Clown Room, the boys meet the worst strippers in the world, Starship (Joy Somers) and Starshyp (Camille Solari). So inept they only make ten bucks an hour, the two bubble-headed dancers attempt a two-for-one grinding session on the men, but midway through, Starshyp hits the floor and starts flopping around a like a fish out of water.
"She's having seizure," shrugs Starship.
Slim is, naturally, alarmed. "Is there something I should do?"
"Naw," she says. "Just let her ride the wave."
Naturally, Stew and Slim think they've stumbled onto a goldmine. I don't know why they think this, but they do. They hire the girls as 'massage therapists'. The strippers are, of course, too stupid to realize that 'massage' is code for sex, so they agree. They make plans for their first training session.
First, though, a quick flashback to Stew's first gig, driving Apple to a session with a fast-talking bald dude. He invites them both in, and sends Stew off to the rec room to watch TV. Apple smokes cigarettes and reads a copy of Little Women while the john bangs her from behind. Halfway through, Stew interrupts them to ask the guy if he's got the director's cut of Apocalypse Now in his DVD collection.
"Naw," the guy says, mid stroke. "But I've got Saturday Night Fever 1 and 2."
Getting back to the story, Slim attempts training his two new hires, but it's pretty tough going.
"Ok, he says, "Pretend you're on the phone and the guy asks for sex."
"Fuck you, pervert!" Starshyp yells into the phone. And then she hangs up.
Apple refuses to work with these idiots, and quits in a huff.
Eventually, the boys decide to just send them out cold to see what happens. They book a session with a John named, erm, John (Lightfield Lewis, Revenge of the Nerds TV Pilot, and Juliette's brother), but they don't even get in the elevator before Starshyp starts spazzing out.
"She's having a seizure," Stew points out. "You think guys are really gonna pay $400 for these two?"
John is slightly disturbed when he opens his door to find two disheveled hookers - one clutching a large plastic zebra - and two slacker pimps.
"I only asked for one girl," he says.
Stew barters with him to include both girls.
"So, she's $200, and we'll throw the other one in for, like, a deuce," he says.
"Plus, you get the giraffe," says Slim, pointing to the zebra.
"You get the giraffe, a rub and a tug."
He reluctantly agrees. A half-hour of fumbling around, seizures, and lotion abuse later, everybody ends up crying.
The next gig is at a 'swanky' hotel with a 'high-profile' client, also named John (Richmond Arquette, Patricia's brother), a greasy fucker in a white suit jacket.
"Are you on Miami Vice?" Asks Starshyp.
John pulls out a pile of cocaine, and then explains how he wants everything to go down.
"You blow me," he says to Starshyp, "while you strip."
"We don't give blowjobs," Starshyp explains, her nose buried in powder.
"But I really like your coke."
The girls freak out when John demands sex. Starship locks herself in the bathroom and calls the boys. Starshyp, meanwhile, has a seizure on the floor. John attempts to utilize the spasms to his sexual advantage, but then Stew and Slim burst in with plastic cap guns to save the day.
There's a few more disastrous dates - including a particularly weird evening with Kato Kaelin - but eventually, the girls start earning some money. When they finally get a few grand together, Stew and Slim go to visit Hollowpoint at his house, where he's having sex with two women while playing X Box. The guys explain all the solid work they've done, and remind Mr. Point that he promised them a meeting with the film producer if they succeeded.
"I'm gonna let you have it, I'm gonna let the foreign money come your way," a pleased Hollowpoint tells them. "It's gonna be raining ducats and dollars and fuckin' coins and cadadadots."
After meeting their producer, a madwoman named Tess (Jennifer Cook), and their mealy-mouthed cameraman, Sac Boy (James Anderson), Slim and Stew begin auditioning the cast for Black Cock Down. There's a couple of fake porn actresses, Chita Bonjour (Noelle Lee Kane) and Dusty Rose (Sheila Lussier, Glitch) and one real one (Hayley Rivers) who all get choice roles. And, of course, Starship and Starshyp get a reading as well. It goes badly.
Starshyp stares at the blank sheet of paper Slim gives her.
"Can I, um...can I get one with the words on it?"
"Turn it over."
Naturally, she has a seizure midway through the audition. Frustrated, Starship demands they have a therapy session to work this seizure bullshit out. It is conducted in a room that looks suspiciously like a stage with a couch on it.
"I can see you two are a team," says the therapist. "Lots of teams have problems. Can you name any?"
"Joannie and Chachi," says Starshyp. "Also the Ringling Brothers."
The therapy session is going pretty well, until the doctor tells Starshyp to give Starship an imaginary rope that connects to her heart. Starshyp chokes her with it. And then she wakes up. It was all a dream. They got the parts!
And so, shooting begins. Well, first all the actresses fuck the crew for bigger roles, and then shooting begins.
They nail the key action sequences, but the film's star, Larry Hung (John Davidson) is having trouble getting sufficiently excited for his sex scenes. Luckily, Stew and Slim were thinking ahead, and hired a fluffer, ex porn star Misty Canyons (Jeannie Roshar) to help him out. Unluckily, she's recently become a born again Christian.
"He died for you," she chastises, while stroking away on Larry, "The least you can do is talk about him while you're getting a handjob."
Look, I don't know what a good half of this movie was about. That's bound to happen when you're just making shit up as you go along. That's immaterial, though. The important thing is, with Starship and Starshyp, Pingel and Solari and Somers have created one seriously dynamic duo. These two are like bacon, man. They just make anything better. Too bad they're not real. I would definitely pay $200 for an hour's worth of their gibberish and antics.
Once this DVD starts making the rounds, I expect reams of Starshyp and Starship fan-fiction, if not action figures and lunch boxes. A sequel seems, sadly, quite unlikely, but most of the cast reunited for the upcoming Boston Girls. If it's anything like the Boston girls I know, expect mayhem.
Hookers Inc is available on DVD.
Clip: Hookers Inc trailer!
- Ken McIntyre