Guilty Pleasures (1997) Movie Review

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(Movie Review by Bill Paterson) Have you ever watched a horror movie and, rather than battle an irrational paranoia that you might somehow be killed, actually find yourself hoping for it? Well, I seriously considered taking a meat cleaver to my own cranium within the first five minutes of “Guilty Pleasures”.

Filmmakers Joseph Parda and Joseph Zaso offer us two vignettes, each about a young, none-too-bright lass being terrorized in New York City. There is much stalking to be enjoyed as first Silvia (Alexandra Paulhiac) deals with an obscene phone caller and a nut-job boyfriend, then RoseMarie (Sasha Graham) flees from a shadowy figure while grappling with some pretty disturbing daddy issues.

Worst acting you shall not see, not even at a dinner theater version of “Titanic” in Albuquerque. I can just see the director trying to elicit a performance out of this bunch: “Uh, try that again; this time, maybe with a little less suckiness.” The irony is that most of RoseMarie’s story centers around the acting classes she’s taking. Oh, if only life could imitate art.

At one point, Silvia’s cretin boyfriend is regaling her with the myth of Narcissus — while she’s sitting on the throne! This, of course, seems perfectly normal to both of them. The sad thing is, by then it didn’t strike me as odd either. In fact, the image of her dropping a deuce is an apt metaphor for the whole shebang.

Aside from the bile-inducing acting, it’s hard to single out just one aspect of the film to mock. Also, the special effects are neither very special nor effective. This production makes Ed Wood look like George Lucas. I mean, there’s the willing suspension of disbelief and then there’s, “Good lord, that’s more fake than the tinfoil sword from my fifth grade knight costume.”

Now, the other point to address here is that the filmmakers have infused Silvia’s tale with a fair bit of soft porn. This is a mixed blessing. First of all, the skin flick is one of the pillars of this great society. Scantily clad babes dropping trou for no discernible reason is what separates us from the Third World. Secondly, the sudden nakedness distracts you from the Armageddon that is the rest of the movie.

The downside is, the girl isn’t very hot. Now I’m sure there’s a whole sect of guys out there who have a certain flexibility in their evaluation of porn chicks. If you’re among them, you may just be glad to see any woman bumping uglies who doesn’t look like John Goodman. And hey, in the midst of a movie as entertaining as food poisoning, I’m not sure I blame you.

So I guess the gratuitous skin time nabs the movie a few extra points. Only this salacious element and the delight that it’s sure to bring to couch-dwellers everywhere redeem “Guilty Pleasures”. Let’s call it a three-tissue movie. None for crying.

Joseph F. Parda, Joe Zaso (director)
CAST: Sasha Graham …. RoseMarie Curtis
Alexandra Paulhiac …. Silvia Resino


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