Saturday, September 19, 2015

Swap Meet (1979)

One of those wretched late-’70s sex comedies that employs a colorful gathering place as the setting for a superficial ensemble story, Swap Meet bludgeons viewers with 85 minutes of nonstop stupidity. Some of the jokes are moderately better than the picture’s mindless default mode, some of the performers have more polished comedy skills than others, and the movie benefits from brisk pacing. That said, dumb gags are dumb gags, no matter how rapidly they follow each other, and the movie reeks of desperation and sleaziness. Among the various narrative threads is the adventure of Ziggy (Danny Goldman), a wimpy little dude who functions as the announcer/greeter at a weekly swap meet situated inside a Southern California drive-in theater. Ziggy longs for a better job, and he also pines for comely blonde Annie (Cheryl Rixon), a hooker who operates out of the drive-in’s lavatory and services customers in their cars. Also featured are a group of young adults, including Doug (Jon Gries), who wishes to impress a girl by defeating a bully in a car race (or something like that). Swap Meet is simultaneously overstuffed and underdeveloped, so it’s hard to know which storylines the filmmakers consider important. As a result, the movie unspools as a series of montages and vignettes. In the montages, people use enterprising means to procure goods they can sell; the colorful opening bit features thugs stealing pieces of the Hollywood sign during one of its periods of decay. In the vignettes, actors portray broad stereotypes while enacting insipid scenarios—we’re talking bathroom farce, rudely interrupted oral sex, skateboarding accidents, a running gag about a foul-mouthed psychic, and a quick scene featuring Danny DeVito as an auto mechanic. There’s also a disco theme song. In a word, tiresome.

Swap Meet: LAME

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I watched this on YouTube (why, I'm not sure, except I wanted to see what a teen comedy set in a swap meet run out of a drive-in theater would be like.) This is pretty much one of the movies you would see as the last show in an Army post theater in the 1980s. Odd to see Danny DeVito in a cameo and his wife Rhea Perlman in an even briefer cameo than DeVito as a shoplifter. Also George Memmoli, the manager in "Phantom of the Paradise."

Mike C.