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ORGAZMO

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Trey Parker, Dian Bachar, Robyn Lynne, Matt Stone
Director:  Trey Parker
Audio:  Dolby Surround
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  Universal
Features:  See Review
Length:  95 Minutes
Release Date:  March 19, 2005

"How will Christ benefit from me putting my tongue in someone's mouth?"

Film ***

Like most things coming from the mind of the South Park creators, Orgazmo is wrong in so, so many ways.  But man, it is funny.

Written, directed by and starring Trey Parker, Orgazmo was made in 1996 shortly after he and collaborator Matt Stone presented their pilot episode of South Park to Comedy Central, which was then rejected by the network because of poor focus group testing.  Sometime during filming, the boys got the word that Comedy Central was going to give their irreverent cartoon a chance to air, and the rest, of course, is history.

But who knows...without that initial rejection, we might not have had this movie, which is the perfect example of the kind of picture that makes you laugh loud and hard even if you sometimes wonder if you SHOULD be laughing.

Parker plays Joseph Young, a Mormon missionary from Utah serving in Los Angeles.  As a former Mormon myself, I have to marvel at how well he understands the life of an elder, particularly the kind of responses you get going door to door with your message.

One day, he knocks on the door of a house where a big new porn production is underway, and through events I'll leave for you to discover, he ends up being offered the part of the lead, a codpiece wearing superhero called Orgazmo.

Needless to say, such an undertaking is against everything Joe holds sacred.  But he's about to get married to his longtime sweetheart Leslie (Lynne), and worried about how he can pay for a wedding in the temple and a place for them to set up house in.  And the money he's being offered could help him on the way to all of that.  "Give me a sign if you don't want me to do it," he earnestly prays...but somehow, the earthquake that decapitates his little statue of Jesus doesn't quite register with him.

He dons the costume, but refuses to actually engage in sex with the parade of gorgeous starlets his character is supposed to conquer, leading his boss to use "stunt..." well, can't use that word here.  But that doesn't mean the scenarios don't get quite awkward for our latter day saint.

He befriends Ben (Bachar), who plays his sidekick Choda Boy.  Ben is actually an MIT graduate and a guy who likes to invent things, including a real working version of the Orgazmo ray, which causes victims...um, momentary distraction.

When it turns out their porn boss is involved in a lot of bad things, including extortion, Ben convinces Joe that it's time to don the costumes for real and bring justice back into the world.  In the meantime, Leslie decides to pay her loving beau a visit to celebrate his newfound success (though she has no idea what he's really doing out in California!).

It's politically incorrect to a fault, to be sure, but Parker would actually push that envelope a lot further with South Park.  Orgazmo is mostly just crude, sexy fun.  It works largely because Parker's portrayal of Joe is actually done quite honestly...we never forget what a struggle of conscience this new life is for him.  A missionary winning a John Holmes Award has to be a mixed blessing at best. 

What makes this a more palatable comedy than a film like the wretched Saved is that the movie isn't there to make fun of Joe.  Trey obviously just thought it would be funny to take an upright, good kid and put him in the middle of a sex on demand kind of world.  And he was right.

Like all things Trey and Matt, this comedy won't please those with more delicate sensibilities, but then again, it wasn't made for them.  This film is for fans who like their hijinks high and their lowbrow low.

BONUS TRIVIA:  Parker, Stone and Bachar would reunite on screen in BASEketball.

Video ***

I wasn't expecting much from this Universal offering...I don't know why, but at any rate, I was pleasantly surprised.  The colors are plentiful and come across with rich tones in this anamorphic transfer.  Detail level is generally good throughout, and there was very little in the way of distracting grain or anything else that would disrupt the viewing.

Audio ***

The surround track is lively and dynamic, featuring some of Trey Parker's music and a couple of action scenes that make the single rear channel come to life.  Spoken words are clean and clear throughout with no recognizable flaws.

Features ***

There are three commentary tracks to choose from, but the balance is a little out of whack on them, making the audio of the film compete with the speakers for attention.  One track features Trey and some cast and crew members talking about the film while drunk and playing a drinking game as they go...a fairly amusing listen.  A cast commentary features some of the minor players.  The "wild" commentary is a strange but intriguing one, featuring some South Park crew members and guests like Kevin Smith and "Weird Al" Yankovic.

There are some tame deleted scenes, a documentary about this and Trey and Matt's other early films, a behind the scenes featurette, a photo gallery, interviews, Easter eggs, and about 40 minutes' worth of outtakes.  Jees...that's about half the film's running time!

Summary:

Unrated or NC-17 version, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.  Orgazmo is a good hour and a half's worth of naughty comedy from our favorite bad boys of South Park.  It's not for the faint of heart, but for the lively of funny bone.

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