Thursday, May 25, 2023

USA UP ALL NIGHT WEEK: Dialing for Dingbats

 -Reviewed by Skunkape-

Dialing for Dingbats (1989) is a Troma comedy written and directed by Peter Slodczyk. This is Mr. Slodczyk's only film and I for one am glad! When we first see the iconic Troma logo it's missing it's equally iconic fanfare, instead we hear the phone ringing which takes us right into the film.

"Hello, Is it me you're looking for?"
 Our hero Randy (Michael Jefferies) is calling some of his lady friends and getting nowhere fast. He's definitely not a smooth operator! Randy must have some kind of sex appeal, while he's out grocery shopping a young lady tries to flirt with him as he looks through a pile of oranges. It's not long before he knocks the pile over blubbering and stuttering his way through an awkward conversation. Randy works at a fashion store as a tailor. There he stumbles into the dressing room of young lady who seems happy about it but then he's tackled by a large lady who has been trying to molest him since his day started. It seems like his life isn't really all that bad but after sulking and watching some depressing unfunny commercial parodies he wants to commit suicide because he just can't seem to connect with women. 

"A Plus Size doesn't give me a Rise"
   "Can a tailor get some tail?"


Out of nowhere a strange man shows up to convince Randy he has the perfect solution! Don't look for logic, it's as if this guy is some guardian angel looking to fix Randy's life, after he does a "Twilight Zone" Rod Serling impression this stranger introduces Randy to the "Party Line"! A place where multiple people can chat and seek out that perfect soul mate. Randy needs tons of convicting to give this service a try because he's too depressed and scared. The movie starts to feel like it's turned into an infomercial for party lines as Ernie, (John Caponera) shows Randy just how easy it is and explains all the benefits of the service. John Caponera is one of the few actors from this film who went on to get work after this movie.

This gut is Noose-Sance
"Guy is a Noose-sance"
 "Just call 976-DUCK"


Now we get to meet all the eccentric characters who use the party line. They all add their location after their first named, like Randy from Redondo. There is also a Dennis from Venice and a Sally from the Valley.😩 None of these new callers bring anything to the table as the movie gets even more uninteresting. There is this one nerd who gives Eddie Deezen a run for his money! You expect a party line to be full of perverts and horn dogs especially for a Troma movie but everyone is nice and respectful. I'm sure this movie was pretty rare on VHS and the few that did see it was because they watched USA Up all Night, but I don't think there was much to cut out of this "sex" comedy for regular TV.  This movie is very gentle and none of that signature Troma sex and gore is anywhere to be found. We do see clips of the Toxic Avenger reedited as a commercial for the party line while Randy watches TV. Not smart to show a better movie in your shitty movie. Only one specific caller is a jerk and tries to trick the ladies into thinking he's some rich tycoon living in Bel-Air. 

The movie's climax takes place at a pizza parlor, the party line invites all its callers to get together and meet. All 10 or so! HA! Will Randy who has been trying to meet this girl Robin finally see her in the flesh? Randy goes from table to table asking people if they know Robin, he comes across Batman and there of course is Robin the Boy Wonder, that did make me slightly smile but overall this is one movie I would definitely hang up on!

"Yo Boo Boo, where's Rat Fink?"

Wait, in the credits it says "Thanks to Al Yankovic" That's because the producer and co-writer Michael Solton is an old High school friend of Weird Al. Al got his bass player Steve Jay to score the film and write the song "partyline". This could of been a real highlight but Steve Jay dropped the ball because the song fuckin sucks! I'm glad that I crossed this off my Troma film check list but that's the only thing about watching this film made me happy. It would of sucked to stay up all night for this dud, oh, hold on second, this was hosted by Rhonda so staying up might of not been so bad. XOXOXO Rhonda Shear!

  Help Me Rhonda, Help Help Me Rhonda!

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