Friday, October 2, 2009

Deep in the Valley (2009)

Directed by Christian Forte
Starring Denise Richards, Tracy Morgan, Chris Pratt, Brendan Hines, Kate Albrecht, Rachel Specter
Rated R

"Before you know it, you might find yourself on the rub-out highway to Nowheresville."

From first time director Christian Forte comes (ahem) this fractured fairy tale about what it would be like if regular, porn-loving slobs like you and I were somehow whisked away to a sticky neverland where every dude is a pizza delivery guy, or a pool cleaner, or a stern headmaster, and every girl is an eager to please cheerleader, candy striper, or giggly co-ed. It's star-studded (well, sorta; does Denise Richards still count?), candy-coated, and painted in a throbbing neon palette of hot pinks and valentine reds, but ultimately, is a comedy about porn as entertaining as...well, actual porn?

Two tight bros from way back when find themselves at a crossroads in life. Lester (Chris Pratt, Jennifer's Body) is a booze-guzzling, porn loving slob who works at a liquor store and sells cigarettes to twelve year olds. His best pal Carl (Brendan Hines) is about to get married to a rich, emasculating shrew. One night, while the two get drunk and reminisce about their heady grammar school days, a mysterious package arrives with a loud thump outside Lester's door. At some point in his alcoholic haze of a week, Lester entered a porn sweepstakes, and he won the grand prize - a vintage "Diamond Jim" peep show booth.

Diamond Jim (Christopher McDonald) is a mysterious skin-flock mogul who revolutionized the industry back in the 80's with his innovative use of nurse, cheerleader, and sorority girl themes. However, during the filming of his 'experimental' epic Sorority Surprise, things started to go wrong for Jim. Some say he went mad while making the film. It was never released, and existed only in hushed whispers. That is, until now.

After some prodding, Lester convinces Carl to enter the comfy, two-man stroke-station with him. They pull the curtain and check out the films on offer. Rather magically, one of them happens to be the long lost Sorority Surprise. How can they resist? Lester punches in his selection, but instead of a wobbly film loop, the two men are suddenly whisked off, ala Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, to another time/dimension.

They end up in "Deep Valley", a bizzaro world where every situation comes straight from the script of a cheeseball porn flick. They are in Deep Valley for mere seconds before two busty cops show up and arrest them. Lester is interrogated by Rod Cannon (Scott Caan), a well-endowed stud who shows off his package in too-tight trousers and speaks in porn-flick gibberish.

He is later tossed into a cell with two angry-but-horny hellcats. Meanwhile, Lester gets a good grilling from S&M queen/cop Suzi Diablo (Bianca Soto). Being an aficionado of stroke cinema, Lester figures out that there are somehow in a porn flick, so he goes along with the script, hoping to score with Suzi, but Carl busts in and convinces him to scram.

The two escape from the police station (not hard to do in a porn flick) and go on the lam, with Rod and Suzi (in a pin-striped 70's Charger) in hot pursuit. They hide out in the bushes in front of a sorority house filled with bubbly blondes splashing each other with hoses. Lester points out some of the girls - Autumn Bliss (Denise Richards), the house mother, Daphne (Kate Albrecht), the always-up-for-it coed, and Bambi (Rachel Specter), the 'good' girl. He knows them all because they're the stars of Dirty Talking Co-Eds, one of Lester's favorite movies. Given the circumstances, Lester naturally assumes that they somehow died in the booth, and now they're in Heaven.

Just then, Diamond Jim pops in to tell them that they are not dead, just in another dimension. The porn dimension. And that they can't go home until they fulfill their mission. Unfortunately, he cannot remember what their mission is. And then he splits.

The fellas hide out in the all-pink coed house, but are soon discovered by Daphne and Bambi. Carl explains their strange plight, and the girls decide to help them.

They hide them when Rod shows up, but Lester and Carl both end up hurting themselves in the process, so they get rushed off to the hospital, which is manned - or perhaps more accurately wo-manned - entirely by sexy, short-skirted nurses, doctors, and candy stripers. Porn-y antics ensue, but once Suzi Diablo shows up to give Lester an unscheduled enema, it's up to Carl to impersonate 'Dr Jellybrick' to get them the hell out of there.

They make it back to the Coed house. Lester tries to bang Daphne, and Carl, being the sensitive one, attempts to teach Bambi about love. That's the plan, anyway. But things never seem to go right in Deep Valley. After another disastrous run-in with Suzi, the fellas decide to hide out somewhere where nobody will ever find them - the girl's locker room at Deep Valley College. Meanwhile, Bambi confesses to Autumn that she may be falling in love with Carl. But Carl's engaged. And from another dimension. What a predicament!

Back at the college, Lester dons a visor and a mustache and joins in as a judge at the cheerleader tryouts. So that's pretty fun.

Unfortunately, Rod's goons Lance and Dick show up to bust the boys. Luckily, they are distracted by a shower scene, which gives Lester and Carl enough time to escape.

Lester thinks he's solved their problems. He knows about about a porn producer named Busta Nutt (Tracy Morgan) who collects vintage arcade games, including old peep-show booths. Lester and Carl put on gangster-y outfits to fool Busta's doorman (Kim Kardashian), and sneak into his house to find a time-travel porno booth to get them home.

"I love your work," whispers Lester on his way in, in a sly reference to Miss Kardashian's career-making sex tape. Lester guzzles champagne and makes fast-friends with Busta and his booty girls while Carl skulks around looking for a booth. He finds one, but it doesn't work. And then the cops show up, so the boys have to vamoose.

Carl's at the end of his rope at this point. He freaks out and calls Carl, his best bro, a loser. And then they split up. Classic two-guys-on-a-journey sort of stuff.
Things go even worse for our hapless heroes, so they get back together and head over to Diamond Jim's mansion, where he's having a pool party. Jim's got another booth somewhere in the mansion. They plan on finding it, and then getting the hell out of this cock-blocking porno-planet. That is, unless Suzi and Rod get to them first.

Oh, and what about Bambi?

Hey man, it's a porn flick. It's got to have a happy ending.

In conclusion: Deep in the Valley a light, frothy time-waster that boasts two gorgeous leads in Albrecht and Specter and a bright and sunny tone that, despite it's message of true-love over pornographic lust, really does come off like a warm and fuzzy valentine to the porn industry. Maybe it's not all hard-drugs, teenage runaways, mob ties, and mental illness after all. That's worth looking into. In the meantime, this overlooked and quickly dismissed little film offers up plenty of boobs and a reasonable amount of yucks. Is it as good as porn? No. Nothing is as good as porn. It's still pretty good, though.

Clip: the boys meet the girls...

- Ken McIntyre

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