By Penn Collins
About 45 seconds in to Live Nude Girls, a new period piece (1980’s) sex romp from director Jay Legett (Without a Paddle, Employee of the Month), it’s pretty clear that the filmmakers aren't going to stop the story for exposition.
Before the audience can bat an eye, you learn that it’s 1985, two friends are traveling to Los Angeles, and one of them was living in and selling weed out of their car prior to the road-trip. Oh, and it probably warrants mentioning that they’re going out to LA because the protagonist, Shane, has inherited his uncle’s strip club.
And with that rapid-fire opening scene, the table is set to move on to greener pastures, because this film’s loftiest goal isn't character development or taking the viewer on a journey. Which is a good thing, because you don’t want to get lost in the details when a story about strippers is co-starring porn stars Tera Patrick, Bree Olsen, and… Andy Dick?
Yup. Andy Dick. More on that in a moment.
During the film, peaks and valleys that the characters experience are largely incidental, but as is true with the better sex (and stoner) comedies, the random scenes serve as an opportunity for the actors and writers to make a meal out of the ridiculousness, as we see repeatedly with Dave Foley’s beat-down strip club manager/pill-popper. His lament that a girl’s ass “is a feast,” and he’d love to “stuff that with cornbread.” It would just be stupid if it wasn't stupid and funny.
Of course, not every scene can be a winner, and the faux-documentary aspect of the film seems to be gratuities in terms of piling on both the exposition and the jokes. Again, this criticism doesn't apply to the Dave Foley scenes, which he absolutely kills as Harry Horowitz, the washed-up manager of the place.
Because the film’s exposition is front-loaded and then doled out in large chunks, we’re afforded more ridiculous scenes like Andy Dick as a surprisingly professional sex toy sales rep (perhaps a nod to his Old School appearance as a blowjob…consultant? Guru?), making an appearance to peddle the "Cock Boxer 2000." I guess the earlier models of the "Cock Boxer" were getting obsolete. The scene plays up against a conversation between two characters in a bathroom, one of whom is tending business in a stall while smoking a joint.
It’s hard not to know what you’re in for with Live Nude Girls, so it’s not like the wonderfully crass asides. To the production team’s credit, the scenes, as gratuitous as they are on paper, have a certain perverse charm to them. Perhaps it’s because they’re coming from very likable former Newsradio personalities whom we don’t consider to be smutty. Well, maybe we consider Andy Dick a little smutty.
When the third-act conflict comes to a head, as it invariably does in these types of films, the movie finally gets to make use of its 1980’s setting. Until that point, however, it served as quite a mystery as why the film would be set outside of the present day, but the writers offer up a pretty clever twist that ties the era into the plot. But mostly I’m guessing that the 1985 setting existed solely to feature K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider.
It’s easy to dismiss this film (and the genre) as a simple T&A delivery service. And it certainly does deliver. But with a fairly frequent barrage of scene-stealing turns and some damn funny writing, Live Nude Girls easily clears the low bar that the premise may set and turns in a fair amount of fun aside from the nudity. Not “family gathered around the TV at the holidays” fun, but the fun that a good raunchy comedy can provide. Then again, that might interest your family after all. Who am I to judge?