Before it descends into mindless softcore, low-budget sex comedy Teenage Hitchhikers evinces a somewhat appealing dialogue style and a relatively empowered attitude toward sexuality. As the title suggests, the picture tracks a pair of young women thumbing their way down America’s highways, often trading sex for transportation. Bird (Sandra Peabody) and Mouse (Chris Jordan, billed as “Kathie Christopher”) are with-it chicks open for adventure, but wary of being exploited. For instance, when a traveling rock band invites the ladies into their RV, Bird and Mouse nix a proposed group-sex situation because the dudes come across as too entitled and pushy. Lest this give the impression that Teenage Hitchhikers is some sort of feminist statement, not long afterward Bird and Mouse grab a ride with a grody traveling salesman, then take turns servicing him until a cop pulls over the saleman’s car. As was true of way too many ’70s sexploitation flicks, Teenage Hitchhikers tries to have it both ways, presenting its protagonists as avatars of women’s liberation while also featuring endless scenes of nudity and screwing. If this disconnect was the only problem associated with Teenage Hitchhikers, the movie might merit closer examination. However, other issues include the failure to gift the protagonists with distinct motivations (where the hell are they headed?), the lack of a plot (unless continued forward motion constitutes a plot), and the presence of an epic orgy scene that edges very close to hardcore porn. Filling the screen with a dizzying array of malnourished hippie types, all protruding ribs and unruly body hair, the orgy scene features unsimulated contact just barely outside the camera’s view. None of this is to say that Teenage Hitchhikers is a total disaster. Some scenes are almost witty, even though the content is distasteful—note the running gag about Bird and Mouse hectoring a rapist for his unsatisfying size and technique. Rape jokes? Really?
Teenage Hitchhikers: LAME