leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh
Writer-director Tim McCann's super-low-budget exploitation-art movie, apparently conceived as a sort of gonzo variation on AFTER HOURS (1985), may have something to say about male ego and the poisonous effects of irrational jealousy, the explosive power of a frustrated woman's rage and the balance of power in relationships. If so, the message is buried under its sleaze-movie premise, its dismal attempts at black comedy and its stunt casting, which ranges from exploitation producer-director Lloyd Kaufman to real-life porn star Frank Oliver. Conrad (Michael Rodrick) and Jennifer (scream queen Debbie Rochon) are deeply in love and engaged to be married, but their idyll is shattered when Conrad mysteriously receives a tape of a XXX movie she made years earlier. Conrad berates and humiliates Jennifer until she retaliates by emasculating him with a pair of scissors, then decamps with the missing part. Bandaged, numbed with painkillers and driven by the slim hope that if he recovers his amputated member quickly enough doctors might be able to reattach it, Conrad embarks on a desperate search to find Jennifer, who's taken refuge with her one-time costar Daddy Mac (Oliver). Conrad's pursuit of his missing manhood takes him from the Manhattan offices of porn director Hersh West (Bob Gosse) to the outer-borough dive bar Daddy Mac co-owns to a final, fateful rendezvous in a desolate warehouse. McCann's earlier films, DESOLATION ANGELS (1996) and REVOLUTION #9 (2002), combine similar thematic material and micro-budget production values to vivid and unsettling effect. But this distasteful, minimalist effort gets off on the wrong foot and never recovers. The scenes establishing Conrad and Jennifer's bliss are brutally banal, and the grating unpleasantness of their characters undermines McCann's darkly comic intent. The result is an unpleasant slog to an unrewarding conclusion that feels far longer than it is.