Synopsis: Sorrells Pickard and Roberta Collins take their adventures overseas in this sequel about a crew of bonehead American filmmakers in the steamy Greek Isles where topless hotties speak the universal language of love. Brenda Bakke (American Gothic), James Karen (Return of the Living Dead), Fabiano Undenio (Summer School) and almost every gorgeous nymph in Europe co-star in this flesh-filled follow-up!
Hardbodies 2 5.25
eyelights: its movie-within-a-movie conceit.
eyesores: its grand departure from the original film. its many inconsistencies. its broad comedy.
“That was my back… not my front.”
‘Hardbodies 2’ is the 1986 follow-up to the 1984 sex comedy that was originally conceived of as a TV movie for The Playboy Channel – until Columbia Pictures decided to buy it and distribute it. It takes us to Greece where Scotty and Rag are actors in a low budget sex comedy.
Directed and co-written by Mark Griffiths, who returned from its predecessor, this film features a completely different cast. In fact, aside for nudity, it has almost nothing in common with ‘Hardbodies’, being instead a spoof of filmmaking that overlaps reality and fiction.
And not a good one at that.
Well, say what you will about ‘Hardbodies‘, but at least it knew what it was. It unabashedly gave us a T&A fantasy and never attempted to be anything else. Well, it aspired to be a comedy as well, but it wasn’t its focus – and it didn’t do that especially well anyway.
‘Hardbodies 2’, however, is anything but what you’d expect it to be. It’s not a proper sequel to the original. It’s not a spin off. It’s not even a sort of remake either. It doesn’t continue to delve in gratuitous T&A just because it can. And it doesn’t party, party, party.
So what exactly is its purpose?
Was Griffiths frustrated with the motion picture industry and wanted to skewer it? Was he using the minor notoriety of the original as a soapbox for his views? Or was he just wrapping up another movie in mild T&A and slapping on a familiar brand to sell movie tickets?
Well, it wouldn’t be the first time.
But it didn’t work: Not only was the picture a monumental flop (less than 80k, as per Wiki), but it also got vilified by reviewers (who already weren’t kind to its forbear). Plus it manages to slap fans in the face by not giving them more of what they liked in the first place.
If only it was an artistic achievement then all of this would be for naught: there have been countless flops and under-appreciated films that were later reconsidered. But this will never be one of them: ‘Hardbodies’ is a frank mess that doesn’t really succeed on any level.
- Its basic concept? Though it’s the film’s most redeemable aspect, it simply doesn’t work; it’s nearly impossible to tell the movie from the movie-wthin-a-movie at times. Add some fantasy sequences on top of that, and there’s no way to follow it.
It storytelling? On top of being somewhat structurally incoherent, the picture is plagued by inconsistencies and nonsense. Heck, it doesn’t even try to make sense of the whole kidnapping gag or how Scotty and Cleo escaped. It just happens.
So… get over it.
- Its satire? Perhaps the second-most successful part of the picture, its focus is on the producer and director, who are frequently at odds. It’s not great, but there are choice moments, like when they decide to build a huge airplane bathroom.
Complete with Jacuzzi.
Um… because shooting in a cramped space cramps the director’s style.
Obviously there’s a constant struggle between them over money, with the director spending on all sorts of stupid things because it adds realism, and the producer trying to mitigate this as much as he can. Most of it is quite clichéd, really.
- Its comedy? It’s campy as all hell, with lame gags and slapstick being the ordre du jour. A bad feeling came over me when the first gag was of the producer of ‘Foreign Affairs’, the movie within the movie, getting pooped on by birds.
By the time that we follow Cookie, the assistant, running rampant on a beach with a chainsaw that she was asked to prep up for the shoot, unable to control it (or, for some reason, herself) enough of my soul had died that I didn’t even care.
- Its performances? Geez… I guess the cast decided that going broad would enhance the comedy, but it only showed their limitations; everything feels forced, desperate. And when it doesn’t, it feels as though the cast just couldn’t give two $#!ts.
- Its eye candy? ‘Hardbodies’ had one thing going for it, and one thing only: eye candy. And it had so much of it that it was impossible to stop salivating. Here, there’s a moderate amount of it, but only when they’re shooting ‘Foreign Affairs’.
So, ultimately, one has to wonder who the target audience for this picture is. It certainly isn’t cinemagoers – especially the returning ones from 1984. Perhaps it’s the few people in Hollywood who would appreciate its attempt at satire – combined with broad humour.
But I doubt it.
‘Hardbodies 2’ is far too limp for that.
Date of viewing: January 22, 2017