Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Here we have the lone starring vehicle for vocal trio Hot (Gwen Owens, Cathy Carson and Juanita Curiel). The ladies of the group meet in prison and discover a shared musical talent they aim to pursue after exiting the big house. The post-jailhouse story is an unwieldy melding of "rise to the top" music industry journey and engine revving "chase-sploitation" flick. The jokes remain resolutely low-brow while the cast tries to keep up with the constant schizophrenic tonal shifts. The plot involves the band running afoul of a judge, sheriff and parole officer in the town of Pitts, where their performing career begins. Our heroines pull pranks, perform songs and race up and down the highways of the heartless American desert.

The film is more entertaining than one might expect and the members of Hot seize their moment in the spotlight with delight. They have an easy charm and cozy familiarity with one another that makes it up onto the screen. The car stunts are more than competent for the budget class the film was made within although it never gets quite as reckless as most of the better known gearhead movies of the period. It is forgiveable though because the creative forces behind the scenes have the good sense to keep things moving quickly and cut to a rousing music number if things start to stall out. No matter how sloppy or inconsistent things get you are never bored and that is more than one can hope for with most large-scale Hollywood product.

The stand-out in the cast is American treasure Hy Pike in the dual roles of Bartender and Used Car Salesman. The characters can be distinguished from one another by the different outrageous facial hair Mr. Pike sports as each of the men. The Bartender has a giant fake mustache while the Used Car Salesman has an oversized wig and full beard piece. Other than those obvious superficial differences the characters are fairly similar, both played with the kind of manic, unhinged energy Pike brought to every job he landed. Easily the most spastic actor in film history, you get the sense that there is a terrible beast within him threatening to claw out of its fleshy, human cage at any moment. In a better world there would be a statue erected to pay tribute to this important if undignified artist.

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