Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cindy & Donna (1970)

Essentially a porno movie without the money shots, this dull, lurid, and tacky softcore melodrama offers little more than attractive young women doing smutty things without clothing. A wispy plot dramatizes the travails of suburban teenager Cindy (Debbie Osborne) as she learns about sex from her promiscuous sister, Donna (Nancy Ison); her adulterous father, Ted (Max Manning); her alcoholic mother, Harriet (Suzy Allen); and her hip best friend, Karen (Cheryl Powell). Accordingly, the picture is an episodic compendium of sexual vignettes—group sex, incest, lesbianism, masturbation, nude modeling, prostitution, stripping, voyeurism, and so on. Photographed with flat lighting, peek-a-boo angles, and shaky camera moves, Cindy & Donna occasionally seems like a highlight reel from a fetishist’s photo shoot. For instance, the interminably long scene of a topless dance by buxom hooker/stripper Alice (Alice Friedland) includes so many close-ups of her bouncing breasts that boredom neutralizes any erotic charge. And so it goes throughout Cindy & Donna, wherein excess regularly diminishes the cheap thrill of ogling. This lack of narrative discipline exacerbates myriad underlying problems, not least of which is the unavoidable “ick factor” of watching something this brazenly demeaning to women. After all, even though the narrative of Cindy & Donna basically makes sense, the filmmakers can’t pretend they aspired to make legitimate drama. Most of the actors in the movie seem as if they were hit in the head with blunt objects before entering view, while costar Allen—as the titular siblings’ mother—gives such an over-the-top and stilted performance that she comes across like a bad drag queen. If there’s a redeeming quality to this disreputable endeavor, which was given an “X” rating by the MPAA, then it is well hidden.

Cindy & Donna: LAME

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