The sophomore feature by future Oscar-winning ROCKY-director John G. Avildsen (following his 1969 Greenwich Village hippie-sexploiter TURN ON TO LOVE, and lensed just before his 1971 surprise hit JOE) is a crude yet sporadically amusing time capsule -- a low-budget, sex-themed comedy set in a seemingly-quiet New York City suburb, which also subversively exposes conservative society's hypocrisy, hang-ups and hidden kinkiness... Framed as an educational film for "The Institute for Interpersonal Relations," comely Dr. Lilly Whitehorn (Yvonne McCall) instructs an outdoor classroom of pre-teen children about America's backwards view of sex, interspersed with fragmented vignettes involving some of the Institute's ultra-uptight neighbors. First there's Richard Carballo as Police Lieutenant Roger Manley, a married, middle-aged creep who spends an inordinate amount of time polishing his handgun and enjoys entrapping 'sinful' young ladies for prostitution. Next door, we also meet the sexually-dysfunctional household of gung-ho Marine-veteran Colonel Lance Battle (Zachary Haines), his wife and teenage son Robbie. No surprise, the filmmakers heavily stack the deck in favor of the younger generation's open-minded attitude about sex over their idiot parents' constipated, out-of-date values -- Roger is a pushy asshole; Lance is an impotent drunk; while Whitehorn matter-of-factly discusses sexual topics with her adolescent students and answers their various questions. As you can probably surmise, the script by Eugene Price (who later penned made-for-TV movies like PANIC ON THE 5:22 and SMASH-UP ON INTERSTATE 5) is a somewhat disjointed grab-bag, bluntly bouncing between scenarios -- Lance hits on his secretary, their wives secretly share a joint over breakfast and strip while hubbies are at work, and everyone seems to be hitting on each other -- while sneaking in satirical jabs about the fear of Commie infiltration or fluoride in the water; as well as radio reports of rampant promiscuity, miscegenation and abortion destroying the American way of life. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Battle hire a hot blonde "babysitter" for horny 17-year-old Robbie -- reading him a smutty paperback as a bedtime story, then jerking him off -- while Roger's better-half Eve (Rosella Olsen) ends up screwing the kid while his parents get off on playing voyeur. But rabidly-judgmental Manley (who's convinced that "the majority of vice is committed by left-wing liberals") gets the biggest, mind-opening freak out after inadvertently received a blowjob from a black transvestite!... Avildsen (who's also credited as cinematographer and editor) sprinkles a little nudity throughout these fetishes and fantasies, with all of the leads eventually getting naked in The Institute's pool, while also juggling a cast of first-time actors, occasionally-strident lectures and a little playful cinematic-experimentation (e.g., the opening credits are read aloud by an off-screen little girl, a.k.a. Avildsen's daughter). Sadly, this endearingly messy film's pro-sex-'n'-science stance seems just as necessary nowadays as it was back in the Nixon era... Gaffer Ralf D. Bode became an Oscar-nominated cinematographer, shooting such films as DRESSED TO KILL and COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER, while propman Frank Vitale would later direct the Canadian cult features EAST END HUSTLE and MONTREAL MAIN.
© 2017 by Steven Puchalski.