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Review: 'Orgazmo' less than pleasurable

Web posted on: Monday, October 26, 1998 3:04:22 PM

From Reviewer Paul Tatara

(CNN) -- Holy cow, this thing is worse than even I thought it would be. "South Park" co-creator Trey Parker wrote, directed, and stars in "Orgazmo," a comedy about the porn industry that's not only morbidly unamusing, it's not even all that dirty. Or at least not dirty enough to merit an NC-17 rating. (Your kids can easily get in to see "I Chopped Up Your Girlfriend and Flushed Her Down the Toilet Last Summer," but not this.)

Parker has been complaining lately that the movie was needlessly christened with the commercial kiss of death by the MPAA, and I would have to agree with him. I'm sure it could have commercially kissed itself to death without their help.

I saw this in a theater packed to the gills with seven people, and three of them walked out before it was over. That left me with two really old guys whose cataracts probably wouldn't allow them to get up in the dark and leave, and a younger guy wearing a "South Park" T-shirt who finally started to look like he would congeal from the lack of hilarity.

Clip: "Kung Fu fighting"
Video clip: 1.4Mb QuickTime

Clip: "Hamster style"
Video clip: 1.8Mb QuickTime

I heard two snickers during the whole would-be sordid affair, and one of them came from me during the opening credits. The theme song is a fake-macho heavy metal tune with absurdly sexist lyrics that worked well enough to be considered genuine satire. Game over for yours truly, and the movie hadn't even started yet.

Enter Orgazmo

Parker, displaying the same dirty dishwater acting flair that lit up the recent "BASEketball," plays Joe Young, an apple-cheeked Mormon who's seen at the beginning of the movie going door-to-door to spread the word of the Lord. Everybody slams their doors in his face, except for a grandmotherly woman who spews a load of profanity at him, then slams the door. Fans of the rapping grandma in "The Wedding Singer" will be immensely pleased, I'm sure.

Eventually -- most of the scenes in the movie could be followed by a title card reading "eventually," since nothing about it flows coherently -- Joe beats up some guys who are attacking him at an L.A. residence where a porno film is being shot. The main character of the sex film is a powerful superhero called Orgazmo, although the guy who's playing him is a crybaby, always getting hurt during the fight scenes. (Orgazmo shoots villains with a sort of orgasm ray-gun that makes them squirm and fall over in ecstasy. Hot damn, that's funny!!)

The director recruits Joe to replace the crybaby, but, since he's a Mormon, a stunt penis will be used during the penetration scenes. Then Parker simply starts "grossing us out," with the end result being a movie that, I swear to God, would have benefited from the participation of Leslie Nielsen.

This was painful to watch. I know that right now everybody who loves "South Park" is thinking I just don't get it, but that's the problem -- you get it in about 10 seconds. I fully comprehend that a good, God-fearing Mormon boy would be an unlikely candidate for adult movie stardom, but is that really something that's going to induce an entire movie's worth of laughs? If so, you might want to save yourself some money and just go make faces in the bathroom mirror.

Not appalling, not embarrassing

I even knew to come into this one with purposefully lowered filmmaking expectations. Why is it that everybody accepts the concept that a stupid movie has to be pathetically shot and acted as well? Well, it doesn't have to be; it's just an easier way of doing it when the only barometer you have for measuring the worth of a strip of film is if it makes your Aunt Rita get all huffy. "The Man With Two Brains" (a movie Parker lifts one joke from completely intact) is stupid all right, but Steve Martin creates a thought-out lunatic character to pull the craziness along. It's a truly hilarious movie, if not a threat to "Raging Bull" as a great work of art.

Parker, on the other hand, just stands there. I wasn't appalled by any of "Orgazmo," at least not from a sick humor perspective. I wasn't embarrassed, either. It's just a plain old crummy movie, booming "South Park" toy industry or not. You have to wonder what film executives are saying to themselves when the latest boy wonder walks in with a finished piece of work that's as useless as this thing. I fully believe that if you selected five class clowns from any five high schools in this country and teamed them with a professional cinematographer and editor, they could make this film. And probably make it better.

I'd laugh about that if it was actually funny.

"Orgazmo"'s NC-17 rating really is ridiculous. There are very quick glimpses of nude men lying on top of nude women, but most of the nudity is of the "screamingly funny hairy butt" variety. There's also a brilliant scene in which a partially-clad actress who weighs about 400 pounds climbs on top of Parker. 95 minutes, gang. Oh, Ron Jeremy's in it, too. If you're not familiar with Ron's charms, believe me, you're far better off.

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