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Review of Varietease

Playing more like a low-rent version of Donny & Marie than what would commonly be considered erotica, Varietease spends most of its time focusing on abysmal stand-up comedians and sappy duets, skimping on arousing dance numbers and showing absolutely no nudity... or much of anything for that matter. Even though Lily St. Cyr is the star of the show, much of her screen time is wasted on pathetic dressing room numbers and the infamous Bettie Page is merely a blip on the radar in the film's mind-meltingly slow 65 minutes. What we're left with outside of those two lovely ladies is a shabby variety hour that probably didn't pass muster as provocative material in the 50s and definitely doesn't come close now.

Opening on a strong note, Bettie Page starts the festivities with an arousing belly-dance inspired number. As she tussles her hair and winks at the camera, her appeal is evident; enticing the audience to watch her writhe and prance on the stage. Unfortunately, this excitement is brief, as Bettie's segment is roughly five minutes long, leaving the rest of the feature to an endless parade of bullshit.

The aforementioned funeral procession features two songs from Cass Franklin and Monica Lane, a vaudeville-style dance team, several awful comedians (one of whom actually does the old "Take My Wife" bit), a matador-themed tango with a strangely masculine-looking chica, and one inspired bit of weirdness from a cross-dressing dancer who basically out shakes-and-shimmies his female competition.

Overall, this one will bore most people to tears and I would only recommend it to Bettie Page enthusiasts, who are cautioned to turn the feature off immediately following her performance. All others would be better off seeking alternative entertainment.

Reviewed by Mdeapo

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