Pretty Peaches (1978)

September 15, 2013 by adamsunderground

Overall, Pretty Peaches is a rotten fruit due to its constant abuse heaped upon the pathetic Peaches, who seems too childish to recognize molesters. The film either wanders into mean-spirited, degradation comedy territory or falls into unintentional darkness as an exploration into the depths of exploitation.

A young woman from San Francisco who lives with her single father, Hugh, Peaches drives alone to a remote Nevada town for her father’s wedding to a nymphomaniac, Lily. After drinking too much at the reception, she has an automotive accident on the trip back and is found suffering amnesia by two shiftless men, Jessie and Kid, who also happen to be from San Francisco. They take the woman, whom no one bothers to try to identify, back to the city where Peaches blunders around until she re-triggers her memory.

The plot’s capably structured beginning and ending dangle limp with no connecting tissue between. There is no real middle other than absurd and humiliating situations for Peaches to endure.

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Like the story, Peaches’ character is left hollow. Before her amnesia, she displays nothing to audience but a ditzy, oblivious woman whom Betty Boop would consider cartoonish. Solitary gestures are made to give both Jessie and Kid depth with the barest flickers of self-preservation, certainly not conscience, and loutish menace toward the gas station attendant. And persona isn’t fleshed out her but for Hugh’s weak noting of her prior responsible behavior. Nothing in the story afterwards bolsters with supporting evidence her unconscious reaction of enjoyment at being penetrated by Kid, which makes the shot look like nothing more than an excuse to ignore sympathy for her later abuse. There is no signs of development of her feelings toward sex while suffering amnesia. She’s prudish until the doctor magically flips an unexplained light switch in her mind, transforming her into a uninhibited beacon welcoming wild sex.

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A continuity mistake in the movie needlessly raises doubts about the likelihood of Jessie and Kid’s deception of Peaches. With no spare room in her Jeep for luggage, this comes from her unexplained costume change between the crash and meeting Uncle Percy. Even the most bubbly of gals appreciates the basic logistics of wardrobe variety, an overlooked fact which clashes along with her later outrage at others’ insensitivity and perversions toward her.

It’s a cast away line, but why does the story need Lily to say her sex toys are wedding presents from her father? Since she is a nymphomaniac, wouldn’t it be more plausible that her swinger friends would shower her with such gifts? In hindsight, it only casts her last lines to Hugh in the film into an illogical muddle.

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The production values are schizophrenic. However, PP shoots its wad early, or sets expectations too high, with the good stunt driving off road that leads to Peaches’ car crash. The lighting during sex shots is often unnecessarily poor, obscuring actors’ bodies in impenetrable shadows. Also during all those sequences, audio mixing hits the audience with dizzying one-two punch combinations of conflicting levels. Neither the music nor the microphones are willing to settle into the background, instead waging war in the viewers’ ears.

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None of the sex scenes rise to a level worth the price of admission, or your time sitting through this film, with possibly the exception of Peaches’ penultimate sexual experience, which is an unremarkable effort at best. There are almost no attempts to generate any anticipation for any of the encounters. Most sex is hurried, often to the detriment of the actresses’ beauty. For example, on Hugh and Lily’s Honeymoon night, no camera fully shows her wearing the sexy lingerie before she leaps into Hugh’s arms in bed.

The opening gas station sequence excellently highlights Peaches’ great figure, which makes frustrating the movie’s remaining hour of inattention towards its actresses. However her boobs, while big, are misshapen implants. Is this nitpicking? Sure, but natural imperfections can be cute and quirky; these man-made imperfections look cheap and lazy. Sadly, no other actress in this large cast gets significant camera time.

Plainly put, Pretty Peaches should be avoided because it’ll leave a bad taste in your mouth.

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Total Grade: D

Specialty Grade

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Screenplay C

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Acting C

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Cinematography F
applications-multimedia Film Editing C

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Visual Effects C

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Audio D

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Sound Editing F

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Audio Effects C

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Musical Score D

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Production Design C

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