Sextette (1978)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Errors, Farce  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Robert Firsching

The good news is that this is one of the most frightening horror movies ever made. The bad news is that it was supposed to be a musical comedy. This unbelievably misguided project from director Ken Hughes and screenwriter Herbert Baker takes Mae West's 1926 play +Sex and re-imagines it as a romance between the 85-year-old West and 32-year-old Timothy Dalton. The supporting cast is fairly odd, but the show really belongs to its octogenarian leading lady, in her final and most astounding screen role. The most bizarre thing about Sextette is that it pretends that its star is still in her twenties, and has her firing off racy double-entendres that will make even Jorg Buttgereit's fans nauseous with their quasi-necrophilic implications. The star is filmed in such soft-focus that one can barely make out her face. She shambles across the sets like she's about to fall over, and when she recites trademark zingers like, "I'm the girl who works at Paramount all day and Fox all night," she seems to have forgotten what they mean. The most horrifying exchange comes when she caresses her breasts provocatively, causing Dalton to embrace her and break into an ear-melting rendition of "Love Will Keep Us Together." Other lowlights have West crooning "Happy Birthday" while pawing a 21-year-old youth in a gym full of Olympic bodybuilders and lip-synching another standard to which she appears to have forgotten the words. The whole mess ends with West singing "Babyface" (astonishingly, she's referring to herself) and sneaking onto Dalton's yacht for a really sick-making seduction scene. This is one for the record books, and not recommended for viewing on an empty stomach.