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The Pink Chiquitas

1987, Starring Frank Stallone, Eartha Kitt, Elizabeth Edwards, Don Lake. Directed by Anthony Currie.

If there's any film credit more potentially frightening than " Featuring Eartha Kitt as Betty the Meteor," it's got to be "Original songs written and performed by Frank Stallone." Pink Chiquitas spews both on to your screen, and both are somewhat misleading. In this film you will hear no more than a handful of overdubbed lines uttered by a giant prop meteor named Betty, and Stallone's songs are pretty much relegated to the credits sequences. In fact, even though Frank Stallone's name is plastered all over this picture like he had the drawing power of his brother Sylvester, his character seems as though he might have been an afterthought carefully grafted onto an already completed script.

Campy genre farces are certainly nothing new to Canadian or American film, and Pink Chiquitas' faux-feminism and broad comedy resembles a myriad of low-budget late 1980s "sexy" b-movie satires, most noticeably 1989's Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. Thankfully, that Shannon Tweed cult favourite was an improvement on this low-budget, confused effort in almost every way.

If nothing sets the tone of a movie like the opening scene, then this one will have you steeling yourself for disappointment quicker than a Green Party candidate who just won the Alberta leadership. Suave private investigator Tony Morita (Frank Stallone) cruises down the highway in his white convertible adorned with bull horns, while we are treated to the Art of Noise's cover of the Peter Gunn theme. While neither the song nor Frank's fashion sense have dated particularly well, the eyes will really start rolling on catching a glimpse of the car chasing him. One of the many recurring "gags" that set the high water mark for humour in this film, Tony is perpetually being chased by gangsters. A car-full of Godfather extras shooting at him with what looks like cap guns forces Tony to duck into a small town drive-in theatre.

It seems like the whole town population is parked there that night to check out Zombie Beach Party III. There's Ernie the mayor (SCTV's John Hemphill), drunk tow-truck driver Dennis and flaming homosexual Dwight Wright. Directing the traffic is Don Lake, another Second City alumnus who totally overacts the part of hick cop Barney Drumm. But frankly, I'm just happy to be out of Frank Stallone country. In the snackbar adorned with posters for "classic" drive-in films like The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (a personal favourite), we finally meet the real hero of this film, ultra-nerdy TV weatherman Cliff Bacardi. Cliff is making the long trek back to his car to share some popcorn with his girlfriend Mary Ann when suddenly the sky illuminates as a strange pink meteor passes overhead.

The rest of the theatre patrons decide that space debris is infinitely more interesting than watching the undead suntan. Led by Officer Drumm, they all take off to the forest at the edge of town to get a better look. Being a meteorologist, Cliff is so interested in finding a specimen that he doesn't notice when Mary Ann starts breathing heavily and pawing at him. Strange things are happening with the women in the other search parties too, who start taking off their shirts and trying to pull any available men into the underbrush.

Despite the best efforts of his girlfriend, Cliff finds a chunk of the meteor, which he safely deposits in his sweater vest. But just a few yards away, a co-ed group of teens have found the rest of the smoking rock, which is roughly the size of a small car. As they get closer, all the girls disrobe and grab their boyfriends. The next morning, Barney finds the boys naked and deceased on the dewy forest floor, but the girls (and the meteor) are nowhere to be found.

Unbeknownst to Cliff and the rest of the menfolk, the pink meteor emits a high pitched whine which is causing all the women to transform into lusty Amazonian killing machines. When Cliff shows off his piece of the meteor on his TV weather report, the hypnotic sound is broadcast all over town. Under the pink meteor's spell, the remaining women in town to go off and live in the woods with the missing teens. Mary Ann, who has installed herself as their leader, decides to run against Mayor Ernie in the upcoming election, and many of the men consider her a threat. But they should probably be more concerned about the fact that the women are beginning to kill off all of the men in a bid to take over the town.

After a few more gangster chase scenes, including a deliriously unfunny water-ski pursuit, Tony reveals that the gangsters are only after his medallion, which is set with a familiar pink stone. Mayor Ernie and Cliff enlist Tony to help in the fight, and in the woods, they discover the girls' cave and witness a bizarre ritual with Betty. They escape just in time for the election, which many consider a lost cause. Never one to give up, Ernie is caught stuffing the ballot box by Mary Ann, who kills him with a pink laser shot from her eyes. Poised to take over the town, the girls roll down Main Street in a rugged pink tank, capturing Tony in a ploy to have him marry Betty, and give the tribe children.

Since the mid-1980s, Canada has produced a wide of variety of 50s sci-fi spoof films including Big Meat Eater and Top of the Food Chain. Generally, these provoke at least a few scattered laughs, and are usually much better than their American counterparts. All the ingredients seemed to be in the pot for another blue ribbon dish, but Pink Chiquitas falls flat on its face by disregarding genre satire for the broader humour of the aforementioned Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. It further entrenches itself in a thick broth of stereotyped characters, from Cliff the nerdy scientist to the uber-flamboyant gay man from the Sicilian mobster to the backwater sheriff and back again to the oversexed Amazonians themselves. Pink Chiquitas forgets to "check" its humour against straight characters, and relies too much on big yuks. But all this could be more or less forgiven, if Pink Chiquitas was funny. It isn't.

And there's nothing here to blame but a lousy script, devoid of comedic inspiration. Collaborating with director Anthony Currie on his only feature film is writer/editor Nick Rotundo, a jack-of-all trades whose only other screenwriting credits are for Lorenzo Lamas' terrible Gladiator Cop films. This is perhaps the real reason that Pink Chiquitas is so unwatchable. With so much comedic talent in Canada, more experienced writers could've helped Pink Chiquitas to become more than what it is, one of the worst genre satires Canada has to offer.

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