Different movie, same title. It happens every so often and can lead to some fun anecdotes when the two movies have the same name but completely different content. Take the 1998 Jack Frost: a heart warming movie about a deceased father coming back as a snow man for his son, and the 1997 Jack Frost: a low budget horror movie about a deceased serial killer coming back as a killer snow man. There are plenty of stories of Video Rental Store employees switching the DVD’s and scarring kids for life. I wonder if Disney and Pixar were aware that, save for an exclamation mark, their movie Up shares the title with a Russ Meyer soft core skin flick. Though both movies do have a lot of balloons in them.
Up! is about the murder of a certain Adolf Schwartz (Edward Schaaf) who lives in a Bavarian castle somewhere in Northern California. He has a thing for kinky sex with both men and women, but his life suddenly comes to an end when somebody throws some Piranhas in his bathtub.
Who did it? Who cares?
But we’re supposed to care about this “murder most foul” as a nude Greek chorus (Kitten Natividad) constantly reminds us. She also provides us with updates and explanations on the story so we can all understand what’s going on, because it actually can be quite confusing from time to time. Aside from the “murder mystery” the movie is centered around a woman named “Margo Winchester” (Raven De La Croix). A typical busty Russ Meyer lead character who hitchhikes her way into a small town nearby Adolf’s castle but gets raped along the way. She kills her assailant only to be sexually extorted by police officer Homer Johnson who has witnessed these events. They then shack up and while the cop continues to get sexual services from other women he pulls over, she becomes the sensation of the town as she takes up a job as a waitress and a dancer in a bar.
There is a twist at the end which actually renders the whole plot even more stupid: Margo turns out to be an undercover cop investigating the murder of Schwartz. Margo however is never seen investigating or does anything an undercover cop would do. Margo is just having a lot of sex with a lot of different guys. Being a cop herself it’s strange she goes along with the “extortion” by Homer and never packs a piece which could protect her against, I don’t know, rapists maybe?
Up! is a movie which lingers between genres but can’t find one to focus on. It’s a comedy, but it’s also a murder mystery and it’s a soft core porn. It’s a movie that could only have been made in the 70’s when people would have to go to cinemas to see some boobs other than the wife’s. It’s a lighthearted flick that occasionally is very distasteful. I’m not talking about all the prosthetic penises on display here, but rather about the fact that the lead character gets raped twice and another woman as well. It’s all presented in an over the top way for laughs, because rape can be fun apparently.
Why didn’t anybody tell Russ Meyer rape is only funny when it’s a 300 pound woman forcing a herself on a skinny guy? Then again, anybody who has seen Norbit can conclude that even then it’s not funny.
As a Russ Meyer movie the main stars of the show are well endowed women. Meyer has always been good at finding undiscovered talent and giving them a shot. Not that most of these girls had a great career after their debut, but at least they have been given a chance in a movie that, while it required them to go nude, is never something you have to (fully) hide from your friends, family and co-workers.
Raven De La Croix is the star of the show and a force of nature, not in terms of acting, but rather her physique. One of the recurring elements in the movie is that she makes all the men who are merely looking at her go crazy . To be honest, I can relate to that, especially considering her style of clothing or lack thereof.
Meyer works with a lot of stereotypes in Up!, presenting an Indian girl named Pocahontas, a black girl named “The Ethopian Chef” and an Asian girl named “Su Ling”. Furthermore Kitten Natividad is seen in between scenes dancing naked or sitting on phallic looking trees and an in comparison ample bosomed girl named Sweet Li’l Alice who’s jealous of Margo’s assets.
Since it’s part a soft core porn movie Up! has it’s fair share of nudity and sex scenes, but as with a lot of later Russ Meyer movies the sex scenes are either exaggerated and played for laughs when shot up close, or shot from a distance when it’s more serious.
Meyer has always been a talented movie maker who could’ve become great if he wasn’t so obsessed with big boobs. There are glimpses of his talent in UP! especially when he uses his quirky sense of humor for references to other movies. There are some nice nods here to Psycho and Citizen Kane. But Up! is an uneven picture which has a problem focusing on a story line that actually makes no sense at all. It especially derails in the third act when we’re treated to a rape scene of Margo in the middle of a bar, the guy doing the raping being cheered on by the rest. This is followed by an extremely violent fight between the rapist and cop Homer which could have been taken out of a horror movie as it features axes, chainsaws and buckets of blood. Then there’s the revealing of the killer which results in two women chasing each other through the forest naked, running into an abandoned bed and a naked guy and no less than three epilogues which add nothing at all.
Up! is a mediocre movie made watchable by the fine selection of women on display and the occasional quirky humor.