Saturday, August 13, 2011
Orgazmo (1997) ****
There was a time when being a fan of the work of Trey Parker and Matt Stone made you part of a cool cult. I was part of that cult. I loved “South Park,” and I had seen the little, animated Christmas short that started it all. I also watched Parker and Stone’s first movie, a bizarrely hilarious musical called “Cannibal! The Musical.”
Nowadays, there is nothing cultish about loving Parker and Stone. After achieving Hollywood success with their animated movies “South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut” and “Team America: World Police” the guys have become the toast of Broadway with their critically acclaimed musical “The Book of Mormon.” It’s nice to see them getting the recognition they deserve, but I can’t help missing, just a little, being part of that cool, nerdy cult.
“Orgazmo” hearkens back to those earlier Parker/Stone days, before they had access to big budgets and big studio backing. This is reflected in the film’s NC-17 rating, which is an absolute joke, and reflects the sheer hypocrisy of the MPAA ratings system. I really can’t even say what specifically would have gotten it that rating. The violence is cartoonish, and the sex is WAY less graphic than what you can see in any number of R-rated films. I would bet that if this film had been made under a big studio, it would have been rated “R”, rather than the kiss-of-death NC-17. “Orgazmo” is a movie about porn; it is not itself anything close to a porno. What it is is dead hilarious.
Trey Parker plays Joseph Young (a combination of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, the two most important LDS prophets). Joe and his fellow LDS missionary are walking the streets of L.A., holding their copies of the Book of Mormon and cheerfully getting doors slammed in their faces. When they intrude on a porno shoot, security guards attack them, and Joe regretfully uses his martial arts to defend himself. The porno director takes a look at the strapping, fresh-faced Joe and his fighting skills, and realizes that Joe would be perfect for a superhero porno film. Now of course, no good Mormon boy would normally make a porno, but Joe is desperate to make some money so he can marry his Utah girl in the LDS Temple. With the offer of $20,000 and a promise that he can keep his clothes on (A “stunt cock” will be brought in for all the sex scenes.), a Mormon porn star is born.
Trey Parker is perfection in this role. Joe maintains a sense of shocked revulsion at the pornography, but he can’t help getting into the acting, as evidenced by the superhero voice he uses in his scenes. Matt Stone kills in his goofy role as a photographer. (“I don’t want to sound like a queer or nothin’, but that’s some hot porn action!”) Michael Dean Jacobs is hilarious as Maxxx Orbison, the director. His frustration with Joe’s prudishness is quite convincing. My favorite “Orgazmo” character, however, is Choda-boy (Dian Bachar), the porn-hero sidekick who is a wealthy inventor when he isn‘t making porn.
“Orgazmo” is not porn, but it is definitely not for everyone. While there isn’t any graphic sex, the discussions about various sex acts are quite graphic. Don’t say you weren’t warned. There are also many for whom the goofy, over-the-top humor just won’t click. For me the movie works, because you have to get in touch with your inner teenager to watch it, but you don’t have to turn off your brain. “Orgazmo” never tries to take itself seriously, so it never stops having fun.