Friday, August 7, 2009

80's Trash of the Week: So Fine

Remember the tight jeans craze in the '80s? Did you know someone made a movie about it? Well, the screenwriter who gave us greats like Fletch and The In-Laws made his break into directing with this silly little film that capitalized on the Jordache fad. Ryan O'Neal plays Bobby Fine, the son of a rag merchant in hock to the mob, so he has to leave his college professor job to hawk dresses and jeans at department stores in New York.
His father, played by Jack Warden, has been in the fashion industry for ages but has fallen on hard times. Competing with sweatshops from overseas, combined with his overbearing huckster attitude, has got him so deep in debt to the hulking Mr. Eddie (Richard Kiel at his thuggish best) that the mob takes over the business, and demands that Bobby come along to run things. He's an English professor who speaks like he's from the 19th century, wears glasses and of course, jackets with suede on the elbows. "You believe this putz?" says one of the gay dressmakers, when he steps in to take over. Bergman puts it to the now archaic tune, "Look for the Union Label," but does anyone even know what that means anymore? I think clothes are made by slave toddlers held at gunpoint in North Korea nowadays.
Mr. Eddie is the kind of guy who meets people in steam rooms, where he's getting beaten by two Japanese men with leaves. I think he's supposed to be Russian, you can't really tell, nor does it matter. He runs a disco, where his Italian wife Lira immediately puts the moves on Bobby at their next "business meeting." She invites him over later and vamps him, because Eddie is "not al dente, capisce?" While she puts the moves on Bobby, her husband is getting infuriated at a Space invaders pinball machine that went tilt on him, and he throws it across the street. We get it. Richard Kiel is a beast who'll tear him apart! We saw him in the James Bond movies! Thankfully one of his henchmen is played by Tony "Paulie Walnuts" Sirico, who's so funny he makes up for the gorilla act Kiel has to endure. When he comes home, he throws his coat on the cleaning lady like she's a coat rack. He eats entire chocolate cakes for dinner. Though it is pretty funny when he's tired and just growls, "Sleepy peepies."

"I fuck around."

When Bobby tries to sneak out of the house when he comes home, he can't find his pants, and he tries on a pair of Mr. Eddie's, which fit him like hip waders for a giant. Eventually he escapes with a pair of Mrs. Eddie's jeans on, so tight he can barely breathe, and soon as he sits down he splits them right across each ass cheek. On his way back, women love the look and he gets flirted at by every gay guy in New York. He tries to sneak in to the building but the fashion mavens see him and start placing orders for 10,000 pieces as he tries to cover his buns. His father knows a good fad when he sees one and plays it straight, and So Fine jeans are born!

Don't you wanna get outta line? So Fine, So Fine!

They couldn't have predicted the fad of wearing loose jeans so your ass hangs out, could they? So Fine jeans are supposed to have clear plastic ass cheeks, but you can tell that it's flesh colored vinyl, because even the black girls have peach butt cheeks as they strut down the street and cause car accidents, jackhammer mishaps, and other tomfoolery. It's like the country song, "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" come to life. If only the theme song was as catchy.
So, the company is saved, Bobby drives a Ferrari back to college, and Lira sings an aria as she finally gets the schtupping she's been craving. Jack Warden is the source of most of the good lines, and when her operatics wakes him up, and he peeks downstairs to see them on the couch, he reminisces, "Boy, I used to fuck like that." But as usual, these comedies fall as limp as Mr. Eddie's noodle in the third act. You can imagine, Eddie figures out who's hide the salami with his wife, and heads to the campus to stomp his matzo balls flat. To fill things out they stick in a series of giant gags with Richard Kiel, where he tears up a gas station, flips a VW Bug (slugbug red) and nearly gets recruited into a fraternity.
Everyone comes crashing together at an opera of Othello, sort of like how Foul Play did with the Mikado. What is it about 1981 and farces at musicals? Lira subs in for Desdemona, and to get on stage, Eddie clobbers Othello and puts on blackface, and they act out their troubles with fake subtitles for way too long, with subsitutions like "You have a limp noodle!" and "It was a war wound!" But if you've ever wanted to see Richard Kiel in blackface, or Jack Warden swing in like a swashbuckler to save the day, it's for you. Writer-director Andrew Bergman does a decent job with this quickie comedy, which was average fare for the time. It has cameos by Fred "Herman Munster" Gwynne as a college chairman, and unfortunately a quick one by James Hong as a Japanese flunky whipping Mr. Eddie with branches in the steam room. It makes good use of its R rating or cuss jokes, but no nudity- odd for a movie about jeans where your ass sticks out. It's not horrible, but unless you're feeling nostalgic it's not worth tracking down either.
"How long have the streets been fucked up like this?"

Beers Required to Enjoy: 3
Could it be remade today? As likely as Ryan O'Neal being a star again
Quotability Rating: Low
Cheese Factor: stinky provolone
High Points: Jack Warden
Low Point: James Hong cameo- sad to see him stoop to that!
Gratuitous Boobies: nope

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