POSTED: September 16, 2009 12:59 | By: Carol Borden
I could watch Bitch Slap‘s opening title slaps all day long–actresses from the silent era to weepy era Joan Crawford to glorious technicolor slapping away.But Bitch Slap isn’t silent or weepy. It’s shot in the lurid color of exploitation cinema. The red’s a little too red, but not quite out of control. The whole movie has that under control feel, but really, I don’t mind. It’s a well-made, well-structured film and I was thoroughly entertained. If it were pure shake that moneymaker id, I’m not sure it would be as fun because for every Russ Meyer there’s a thousand crappy filmmakers hoping cleavage is enough. And I appreciate writer Eric Gruendemann and writer/director Rick Jacobson’s approach to cleavage. Somehow they and the actors manage to make the sexy ladyness simultaneously hot for those looking for hot and hilarious for those who are looking for hilarious. We can all sit happily together in the theater. I doubt that’s easy.
In a way Bitch Slap seems more Blaxploitation than sexploitation to me. Bitch Slap has the same kind of focus on getting it over on the Man, valorizing people disrespected and disregarded by society and using that oppression as a tool or a weapon. Even the use of sexist and misogynist epithets and insults remind me of racist insults in Blaxploitation. It’s a little more political and social than sexploitation films ostensibly warning us of the dangers of Lesbian mankillers or showing us the dreadful conditions of women’s prisons. I suspect that’s part of why the fights were so brutal, culminating in two women throttling each other while choking out inaudible insults.
And I really appreciate America Olivo‘s tweakin’ insanity as Camero, the thief and underground fighter. She was transcendentally over the top. It kinda reminded me of Bruce Campbell at his most manic.
Last chance to see Bitch Slap at TIFF on: Wednesday September 16, 3:15 SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3