Neu Wave Hookers Review
Eon McKai's Neu Wave Hookers is the first postmodern porn in an industry just grown up enough to support one.
One can't attend a Las Vegas porn convention without it being brought home that, though producing adult material is an easy way to make money for the right person or people, often those people think that having made money makes their products worthwhile. Add to that the fact that people are still threatened with jail for distributing certain adult fare and it's understandable why the negligible product itself is often mistakenly associated with the significance of society's demand for it.
Into this comes NWH, a very silly, winking, and documentary porn that employs VCA's now-drinking-aged New Wave Hookers as a jumping-off point to indulge some of McKai's common themes and, in so doing, make successes out of his missteps.
Two punky escorts, Joanna Angel and Riley Mason, find not only a VCR but also a box of New Wave Hooker videocassettes at a yard sale run by Vena Virago, Neu's art director. The call girls get home and watch the film with a group of similarly-occupied friends, played by Justine Joli, Felix Vicious, Sierra Sinn, and Tiger.
What follows is a loosely-plotted series of fantasies and flashbacks characterized by liberal use of two McKai trademarks: the manual zoom and music video-style editing.
Old Man's Hands, played by Dirty Harry, offsets the general whimsy of the film by portraying the kind of creepy john none of the young hookers likes (the movie says something, too, about this generation's hookers - they turn down sex even as the money offered increases. What kind of world is it when creepy guys can't even get laid for cash?)
In between bouts of fighting off Old Man's Hands in flashbacks, we are treated to boom-shadow scenes of him negotiating for yet more girls to maul.
What confused me about the juxtaposition of the girls-hanging-out scenes and the Old Man's Hands scenes or, now that I think about it, any scenes other than the Old Man's Hands scenes, was the really typical bad porn acting. McKai does try to turn this on its head by inserting bloopers into the film, but it seemed more of an adjustment after the fact.
For example, Joanna Angel and Riley Mason deliver dialogue like they're stuck at a boring party through much of the movie, but in Angel's riveting scene with Old Man's Hands, in which the Neu Wave Hooker needs a little coke to perform, there is no not recognizing the reality of that situation. If you've been around long enough, you recognize the girl in that scene, and it's heartbreaking. Let's hope that being around long enough doesn't also qualify you to be the guy in that scene, too.
The girls become so fascinated with the tapes that they decide to break into VCA headquarters. There they find the Lost Dark Documents, detailing Greg Dark's pivotal meeting with the underage Traci Lords at a Van Nuys carwash. Things were so crazy then that, according to a map, Magnolia was north of Oxnard.
In an inspired sequence featuring Dana DeArmond as Lords, captions tell us the VCA/Traci Lords story and further nail something that is an industry understatement: DeArmond didn't know who Lords was before taking the role and didn't care. Like Digital Playground's Robby D., McKai knows the old stuff and pays tribute to it in an industry that forgets easily.
As in all of McKai's movies, the style comes over the sex and the sex and the substance battle it out for primacy. Here the sex loses two out of three. It takes about fifteen minutes for the first sex scene to happen but, like interesting tales by the Johnson Brothers, it doesn't really matter.
The best sex in the movie is the all-girl orgy at the end (although my companion wondered why the not-as-pretty Tiger was included in the general Sapphic loveliness in which Joli and Vicious really stood out - it is worth noting that Tiger's character, who happens to be black, was the only Neu Wave Hooker to give Old Man's Hands the time of day in her flashback scene. Is McKai saying that white girls are entitled princesses who don't know the value of a dollar? If he isn't, then I am.)
VCA's marketing of this product is phenomenal. They got out of McKai's way and let him keep his proven crew (Alaska! on design, Jon San Nicolas on costumes, Malachi Ecks producing) and there is no reason to doubt VCA sales functionaries when they say this 3-disc set (it comes with not only a bonus/outtakes/music video reel but also the original 1985 Lords-excised New Wave Hookers) is selling like Tamiflu.
There are a lot of reasons to go out and buy this movie. The girls are pretty, the music is good, and the "I Dig It" sequence with James Deen, Tommy Pistol, Veronica Hart (in an hilarious cameo) and Sierra Sinn is abso-fucking-lutely delightful. But it is also the movie that lives up to McKai's hyping-by-others as well as an excellent takeoff on porn culture and history.
Prior to Neu Wave Hookers, McKai's movies have suffered from haters and hype. It was easy to shoot at the lined-up ducks in his movies simply because he was being hailed as the Next Big Thing in an industry where many legitimate Big Things are too often overlooked. With Neu Wave Hookers, his shit is together and, when it's not, he does a good job of covering it up.