06th Sep2017

‘My Chauffeur’ Blu-ray Review (Vinegar Syndrome)

by Mondo Squallido

Stars: Deborah Foreman, Sam J. Jones, Sean McClory, Howard Hesseman, E. G. Marshall, Penn Jillette, Teller, John O’Leary, Julius Harris, Laurie Main | Written and Directed by David Beaird

my-chauffeur-blu

Casey Meadows (Deborah Foreman) is a young and free-spirited girl who although full of spunk and ambition – is trapped in a Californian restaurant cleaning dishes as well as trying to clean the crust off the idea of the American Dream. With seemingly no hope aside from sinking evermore deeper in to the scummy dishwater before her – Casey’s life may be on the up. One day at work, she receives a letter from a company named Brentwood Limousine Agency – the Rolls-Royce of Limousine Services – offering her a role as one of their drivers. Excited by the prospect of being part of such a prestigious organisation (and all that sick dough of course!), Casey takes no time in turning up for her first day of work. Unfortunately for her however, it’s a bit of an old-boys club. Yep, every employee is indeed a stuffy old coot who ain’t too impressed with a little ol’ lady joining their ranks. The most unimpressed is McBride (Howard Hesseman) – the man in charge of dishing out the duties.

To show his sheer distaste for the situation – aside from speaking to her like your casually racist uncle does towards female drivers – he decides that he is going to make her new life hell and sets her up with some of the company’s worst clients. Unfortunately for him, Casey has too much attitude and overcomes pretty much everything he throws at her. I say that, but when she meets Battle (Sam J. Jones) – her toughest customer yet – things get complicated. Especially when she not only starts to fall for him, but works out he is the son of Brentwood Limousine Agency’s owner. With her fellow employees against her and one Hell of a messy love interest, the American Dream may be potentially crustier than she realised.

If you want a somewhat vanilla feel-good and slightly raunchy romantic comedy – you came to the right place no matter if you’re a man or woman! If you want a memorable film… yeah, you are definitely not in the right place. Aside from the obvious 80′s aesthetic and Deborah Foreman’s Madonna-cum-Pat Benatar image – there’s really not much here. The comedic aspect is there, but it’s not exactly side-splitting stuff. I found that most of the jokes fell flat. Not even Penn & Teller’s skit came close to slightly tickling my funny bone. If anything, that was quite drawn out to say the least. There were boobs though, but there’s only so many times a pair of breasts can save a situation (I really want that last part on my gravestone!). It may sound like I’m bagging on this film, but I’m not. I swear. What the film did have was charm and unlike most romantic comedies nowadays – the relationship between Battle and Casey is done really well. You know exactly how it’s going to go down between the two, but it is done well and you do actually have an invested interest.

I think my main problem was that film just sort of dragged on and unfortunately made this a fairly forgettable picture. It’s one of those films you watch once and think “Ooooh! The actress is nice and cool soundtrack!”. Yeah, the soundtrack is pretty great and a lot of the songs stick in your head. That shouldn’t be of any surprise because the legendary Paul Hertzog played a hand in that. The film is solidly acted and you can tell that those involved had a good time and like I said earlier – Sam Jones and Deborah Foreman had great chemistry. Even smaller roles from the likes of Julius Harris and E.G. Marshall are somewhat memorable.

The story in itself is familiar and done well – especially the final third, but it’s just got a little too much nothingness and filler in between! It’s not an awful film by any stretch – even for a low-budget comedy, it just doesn’t touch me the way it seemingly has others. Well, aside from Laurence Van Gelder who – when reviewing it in 1986 for the New York Times – really didn’t like it.

Once again, Vinegar Syndrome has knocked it out of the park with this release. Boasting awesome artwork by Derek Gabryszak, you know you’re in for a treat when you hold the release in your hands (especially if you were one of the lucky sods who got the slipcase!). The film is restored in 2k and looks great. On the disc itself there are not one, but two commentary tracks. One from David Beaird and Leland Cooke and one from Jeff McKay. There’s an interview with Deborah Foreman who looks just as lovely now as she did back then (yes, even when dressed like Madonna!). An isolated soundtrack which is extremely welcome! Finally, there are a selection of trailers, spots and behind the scenes photos. Oh, and there is of course the original poster artwork on the inner sleeve. Yeah, it’s a wonderful package, but I just wonder why this film has had so much invested in to it when Vinegar Syndrome are releasing some wonderful Joe Sarno films with little in terms of extras. I’m not complaining of course because I have said plenty of times that I am so thankful as a film lover for what Vinegar Syndrome are doing with the more obscure films out there.

My Chauffeur is out now on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome.

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