Group Marriage/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Group Marriage

Stephanie Rothman directed a few exploitation films for Roger Corman, including Terminal Island and The Student Nurses, before leaving his New World Pictures to help set up the film division of Dimension Pictures.

Both under Corman and at Dimension, Rothman had the creative freedom to explore the political and social issues she was interested in as long as she still delivered an "exploitation" film.


Group Marriage -- at least on paper -- seems like an interesting vehicle for Rothman since she could explore a non-traditional relationship structure. At the fore of this film is a polyamorous group of six, half of which were Playboy models turned actresses: Victoria Vetri (Invasion of The Bee Girls), Claudia Jennings (Truck Stop Women), and Aimee Eccles.

So, we've got a socially-minded director, a rather progressive topic, and a handful of Playboy models. But what's going on in this movie?

We start with Chris. She works at a rental car business and is a pretty good mechanic. Her boyfriend Sandor, played by Solomon Sturges (The Working Girls), designs and sells transgressive bumper stickers. The couple is not really getting along.


When hitchhiking to Sandor's studio, Chris meets Dennis, who is played by Jeff Pomerantz (Savage Weekend). She and Sandor invite Dennis over for dinner, he ends up staying the night, and ends up sleeping with Chris.

Sandor isn't too happy about it, but calms down after Dennis offers to introduce him to his girlfriend Jan.

At dinner, Sandor is quite taken with Jan -- it's Victoria Vetri, so who wouldn't be? After dinner, the four go back to Chris and Sandra's place and then it's Chris's turn to feel a little jealous. She decides all four should share the bed but wants to watch TV before anything sexy happens.


With so many great things on TV (or so Chris says), nothing sexy happens.

But, the second night they hit upon a solution: separate bedrooms.

Eventually the four meet a hunky lifeguard, Phil, played by Zach Taylor (The Young Nurses). He adds lawyer Elaine (Claudia Jennings) to the mix and the group is complete at six.


It doesn't take long for the press to find out, mostly because Phil had taken an ad out in an underground newspaper looking for number 6. And as soon as the press finds out, the harassment begins.

From there the film takes a few interesting turns, but ends up going to where the title suggests. Predictable, yes, but not without some highlights. The main one being the dialogue. There is quite a lot of entertaining banter to be found here. Nearly all of the characters have rather sharp tongues and it's fun to listen to them talk.

Aside from the fun dialogue, the film is just interesting. It does a pretty good job of pointing out some of the justifications for and challenges of a polyamorous lifestyle: jealousies, expectations, and having only one bathroom for six people.


However, those expecting a "Playboy" experience from a movie with three Playboy models might be disappointed. There is some skin, yes, but perhaps less than you'd expect, and what is there rarely fits tonally with the movie. The movie is a comedy, but there is an odd point where the film tries to be erotic and it just doesn't fit.

Rothman seems to be struggling within the confines of exploitation cinema in this film. She doesn't want to make an exploitation film; she wants to make a comedy with social commentary. But there are expectations, so she throws in a nude scene because it's a "requirement," never mind the fact that the scene does not fit at all with the tone of the film.

That being said, however, the movie is a pretty entertaining watch and while it is weird and weirdly inconsistent, it is interesting. I don't think I'm quite the right audience for it, but you might be.

Rob McGee has written comedy and short stories for The American Bystander, Sammiches and Psych Meds, and a number of other funny places online and off. You can follow him on YouTube.

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