Saturday, May 28, 2016

Smokey and the Hotwire Gang (1979)

Wretched nonsense involving criminals, hookers, and truckers, Smokey and the Hotwire Gang is passable only as the cinematic equivalent of background noise—it contains just enough action, lowbrow humor, and sex to hold the attention of undemanding viewers so long as they’re doing something else while the movie is running. The discombobulated plot seems to have two major elements. In one, amiable rednecks Filbert (Tony Lorea) and Joshua (James Keach) share criminal misadventures, mostly to do with stealing vehicles. In the other major element, a madam nicknamed “Hotwire” (Carla Ziegfeld) augments her skin-trade income by selling stolen cars. There’s also some sleazy business involving two prostitutes who prowl the countryside in a tricked-out, cowboy-themed Winnebego they call “The Westerner” while offering their services to truckers via CB radio and using the handles “Sexy Sadie” and “Sweet Cakes.” Eventually, all of these things coalesce during a shabby attempt at a madcap finale, because Smokey and the Hotwire Gang is supposed to be a comedy. No matter the genre, the picture is chaotic, disoriented, and sloppy. The movie also looks and sounds awful, thanks to grungy cinematography, jumpy editing, and a rotten soundtrack combining bad country tunes with even worse disco songs. Adding insult to injury, the flick is so tame it bears a PG rating, meaning that anyone looking for cheap thrills during the prostitution scenes will be disappointed. About the only fleetingly enjoyable things in Smokey and the Hotwire Gang are snippets of weird dialogue, as when a trucker identifies himself as “Texas Levy, the Kosher Cowboy,” or when a redneck exclaims, “I haven’t seen anything take off like that since that kid put acid on a cat’s ass.”

Smokey and the Hotwire Gang: LAME

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