Tuesday, October 17, 2017

If You Don’t Stop It . . . You’ll Go Blind!!! (1975) & Can I Do It . . . ’Til I Need Glasses? (1977)

          The era of the Sexual Revolution unleashed a lot of ribald comedy, some of it culturally relevant and some of it merely vulgar, so something on the order of If You Don’t Stop It . . . You’ll Go Blind!!! was probably inevitable. A fast-moving compendium of crude sketches, the movie essentially adds pictures to a bunch of naughty one-liners, with most scenes lasting less than a minute. Barely any pretense is made of appealing to female viewers, or for that matter anyone but straight dudes, so women are largely portrayed as conniving, horny, or stupid. Similarly, shots of naked ladies are prevalent. The production values are roughly that of a low-end TV variety show, and the style is painfully broad, so the sum effect is numbing—any glimmers of wit are obscured by the adolescent sensibility permeating the whole enterprise. That said, things got much worse in the movie’s sequel (more on that in a minute), so it’s only fair to mention that some bits are passable.
          Consider the musical number in which underemployed hookers sing a tune with the refrain, “We’ve gotta get back on our backs!” Not brilliant, but mildly clever. Alas, most scenes fall short of that mark. A man runs screaming down a hospital hallway, followed by a nurse carrying a metal pot, so a nearby doctor exclaims, “Nurse Owens, I told you to prick his boil!” A gay man at a clinic complains that sex is “a pain in the ass.” A man in an elevator says to the woman ahead of him, “Ballroom, please,” to which she replies, “Sorry, I didn’t realize I was crowding you.” Taken separately, any one of these bits might be amusing in an I-hate-myself-for-laughing-at-this sort of way, but taken together, they’re exhausting. (The less said about the closing musical number, “Don’t Fuck Around With Love,” the better.) Most of the players are unknowns, though busty sex-flick regular Uschi Digard appears, as does second-rate Hollywood funnyman Pat McCormick.
          The diminishing-returns sequel Can I Do It . . . ’Til I Need Glasses? again comprises brief sketches. Brief descriptions of a few sequences should paint the unappealing picture. A chipper “story lady” reads the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, which culminates with Red lamenting that the Big Bad Wolf wants to consume her flesh instead of getting frisky: “Jesus,” she wails, “doesn’t anybody like to fuck anymore?” A guy walks into an IRS office wearing only a barrel, then walks out naked. A husband answers his doorbell, greets a rapist, and calls to his wife, “Honey, it’s for you.” A lengthy vignette featuring “The Lone Stranger and Pronto” revolves around Pronto’s shocked realization that he must suck poison from Kimosabe’s rattlesnake wound—which is located on the masked man’s penis. And so on. Robin Williams shot scenes for Can I Do It that were not used in the original release, but after he achieved fame, his footage was inserted for a theatrical reissue and subsequent home-video exhibition. Even though Williams never let decorum get in the way of a joke, it’s a bummer that Can I Do It endures in posterity as his first credit.

If You Don’t Stop It . . . You’ll Go Blind: LAME
Can I Do It . . . ’Til I Need Glasses?: LAME


Guy Callaway said...

I think 'Limp' would be a better rating in this case.

By Peter Hanson said...

Please award yourself a slow clap, Guy.

By Peter Hanson said...

And BTW, probably the most vulgar headline I ever wrote for a movie review accompanied my remarks on the meh Samuel L. Jackson remake of "Shaft." My headline was "Private Dick Goes Limp." It was fun to get away with that sort of thing while writing for alternative newsweeklies.

Unknown said...

Huh. Never saw these, but the way I always heard the Red Riding Hood joke -- perhaps the teller improved upon it -- was that the Wolf says "Red Riding Hood, I'm going to eat you," and Red's complaint plays on the idea that she thinks he's referring to cunnilingus instead of the standard act.

Bob Johns said...

Yeah sounds pretty Lame