01 February 2009

Jailbait


United States - 1992
Director – Rafal Zielinski
Paramount Home Video, 1993, VHS

Preceded by previews for Beach Babes From Beyond, Bloodlust: Subspecies 3 and a Shannon Tweed film called Cold Sweat which looks like a piece of shit simply because Charles Bronson was in a different movie called Cold Sweat, which I know for a fact did suck, but it still had Charles Bronson so it’s inherently better than anything Shannon Tweed ever squoze out. Enough, on with the film.

Kyle, a young naïve Nebraskan hottie trying to escape the stuffy traditionalism of her old-timey daddy’s rural home crashes headlong into her first big city in a montage of hyperbolically “real” modern Hollywood witnessed from the window of her Greyhound. With little time for her quaint ideas to catch up, the crazy metropolis takes hold and sends her spinning into a wasteland of unfettered vice.

The 90’s were a time of redefining social roles and coming to terms with razzle-dazzle technological advances like three color computer screens that were just beginning to allow a certain section of society to feel special. Detective Teffler is just such a man; flashy and suave with his grasp of heady cutting edge techniques like ordering his fat lackey to make the computer do stuff. Thusly Teffler will not shut the fuck up, and when he’s not feeling sorry for himself does most of his detective “work” in the office ordering that fat old walrus to operate the clacking and whirring fax-machines and keyboards. The fact is however, that no matter how demanding and jerky he can be Teff is all alone in the world, driven to work ever harder by a deafening loneliness and drifting through life with the careless abandon of a man in search of a purpose.

When a street goon is killed, Teffler uses the first half of the movie to show off just how much his unfocussed emptiness has overcompensated with wanton aggression. Tracking down the main suspect - a common hooker who moonlights as a singer in a terrible grunge band - he finds Kyle, the hooker’s little sister who’s been sleeping in the hall of a sketchy apartment building for an undisclosed period of time.

Since they can’t find her sister, Teffler makes Kyle stay at his house. Her brief street education has already corrupted her and she spends the second half of the film repeatedly slinking around in small or no clothing insulting a sweating and understandably bug-eyed Teffler, and trying to browbeat him into her pants. Having apparently never heard the adage that in order to eat the cake you first have to commit to having it, he refuses each time and she consequently removes the object of his desire from his grasp, running away like an aberrant child to aimlessly wander the streets in search of a job, a friend, hell, any acceptance at all to the strains of horrible shitty wailing “desperation” saxophone solos.

Ruthlessly crushed between two patriararchetypes, Teffler cracks. By “making her a woman”, Teffler has accepted Kyle, and she can feel wanted as long as she keeps it lookin’ good and offering her body as collateral, presumably whenever he gets restless. Teffler effectively has Kyle under lockdown now that he’s made the commitment that is the only way to keep the insatiable little lass from slopping it on the streets. Now they can spend the rest of their lives hating each other for a stifling relationship that they both implicitly reinforce. But wait! In the 90’s it’s OK to get a divorce and start all over again with someone else. At least the concept of love hasn’t changed in these modern times, Kyle’s daddy would sure be proud.

See, she looks happy with the arrangement already.

2 comments:

régis said...

C. Thomas Howell is the bloody stool of film: His presence is a symptom of a systemic, fatal problem.

Ry said...

Hey. Off topic, but that Cold Sweat with Shannon Tweed is actually pretty good and it's not a piece of shit. I just got done watching it, as I wanted to track it down after seeing the trailer on another Paramount VHS release. At first, it may seem like just another late-night Shannon Tweed skin flick from the 90s, but upon further viewing, it's actually quite a good thriller. The performances from yes, Tweed, as well as Ben Cross and Canadian favorite Henry Czerny along with the various twists and turns in the film really contribute to the film. Ending's a little bit sloppy though, but not too bad overall.

It's also worth watching just to see Dave Thomas (SCTV) in a non-comedic role for once.