Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5.
USA, 1980. EMI Films. Screenplay by Bronte Woodard, Allan Carr. Cinematography by Bill Butler. Produced by Henri Belolo, Allan Carr, Jacques Morali. Music by Jacques Morali. Production Design by Linda Conaway-Parsloe, Harold Michelson. Costume Design by Theoni V. Aldredge, Jane Greenwood. Film Editing by John F. Burnett. Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.
It truly is as bonkers as you’ve heard it is. Nancy Walker made an ill-advised feature directorial debut in this attempt to update Mickey and Judy put-on-a-show musicals to the disco era, a big screen extravaganza dedicated to celebrating the Village People by cutely fictionalizing their origin. Valerie Perrine and Steve Guttenberg seem completely clueless as friends who decide to help Guttenberg break into the music business by hiring singers to perform the tunes he writes. Gathering up an assortment of strangely costumed men from around Manhattan, they put together a show in his backyard that leads to band auditions towards a big concert finale that Perrine hopes her music producer ex-boyfriend (whose private jet looks like a harem crossed with the Ropers’ apartment) will see and be inspired to give them a record deal. A perpetually flustered Caitlyn Jenner (then Bruce) somehow enters the picture as a buttoned-up lawyer who romances Perrine, while the Village People take advantage of every opportunity to bust out a tune. It’s a way-out guilty pleasure if you want it to be, but its campy nature would be more acceptable if it was a tad bit more self-aware of how terrible it is; the moments where it is earnest are awkwardly up against tacky production numbers and a host of songs which are just awful. Watch it anyway, though, as it needs to be seen to be believed.