Wednesday, November 16, 2011

High Rolling in a Hot Corvette (1977)

Boring and pointless but borderline tolerable because the location is novel and the storyline is coherent, High Rolling in a Hot Corvette is one of those innumerable “light-hearted” adventure romps about mischievous dudes roaming across the countryside, getting into trouble and getting into women’s pants. One presumes the intended appeal was wish-fulfillment for male viewers and bad-boy eroticism for female viewers, but as often happens in this particular genre, the filmmakers failed to make the leading characters charming enough to justify watching 90 minutes of their obnoxious antics. Joseph Bottoms, younger brother of ’70s mainstay Timothy Bottoms, stars as Texas, an overbearing American tramping around Australia with his Ozzie pal Albee (Grigor Taylor). They start out working at a carnival, but Texas gets fired after closing his attraction in the middle of the day for a quickie with a patron. Then the duo hitchhikes across the continent. One of their rides, Arnold (John Clayton), makes a pass at Albee, who knocks the guy flat. The lads then discover that Arnold’s car—the hot Corvette of the title—is loaded with money and pot, because Arnold’s a dealer. The boys steal the car and embark upon a freewheeling holiday, hooking up with women including a drifter (played by the great Judy Davis, mostly ineffectual in her first movie role) and a pair of cabaret singers. Eventually, the lads decide to become full-on crooks, so the climax involves the boys hijacking a tour bus while Arnold and his gunsels close in for the kill. The stakes are never very high in High Rolling, because we don’t care what happens to the idiotic heroes, and the picture’s tone is so lightweight it’s hard to believe major bloodshed looms ahead. Still, there are worse movies in this genre, and the Australian setting is offbeat. Plus, the flick contains one sequence of completely random weirdness: Dressed in flowing white gowns, the cabaret singers cover Donna Summer’s raunchy disco tune “Love to Love You Baby” as a performance piece of posh lesbian erotica. A land down under, indeed!

High Rolling in a Hot Corvette: LAME

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