Baby Oil (1975)

Comedy is way more difficult to bring off than drama; just compare the durability of just about any ’40s/’50s film noir with the comic films of that era. BABY OIL stumbles over its own smirky, self-satisfied attempts at yucks.

The shill who writes the tiresome back liners for Something Weird’s Dragon Art videos really embarrassed himself with this one, not even recognizing superstar C.J. Laing (he criticizes her acting ability as if she were a 1-shot). She portrays Fannie Foxy, a spy sent by no less than Henry Kissinger (script has plenty of namedropping) to service the visiting ambassador from Sexylvania, one of the crummiest roles in Jamie Gillis’s long long career. He’s so embarrassing in this film that even Gael Greene probably walked out of the screening.

Film opens on a still-topical note as Gillis talks about an oil shortage, but after many sex scenes and very, very bad jokes it turns out the film is about, you guessed it, baby oil and not the “smelly” stuff we get from Shell, Chevron and British Petroleum.

Undoubtedly the worst gag here is Gillis wearing Halloween spectacles with a big nose (shaped like a penis) attached. This permits him to say to the mistress of deep-throating, C.J., “blow my nose”, amidst a harangue of nose puns that would have had me running to the concession stand to wait for the beginning of the next feature back in the day. Equally stupid is a silly device, I guess traceable back to the Beatles, of playing the soundtrack backwards to simulate the Russian agents speaking in Russian.

Getting on my soapbox for a mo’, I recall vividly that there were many filmmakers, notably the late Russ Meyer, Joe Sarno and Chuck Vincent, who treated the audience with respect if not reverence, realizing that they should do themselves proud, EVEN if toiling in the fields of porn. Unfortunately this film is just one of thousands cranked out by mainly anonymous jerks who had no such self-respect, and assumed their audience was a bunch of masochists who not only liked being insulted but deserved it. Unlike the scores of self-appointed “film historians” documenting this era but way too young to have any credibility in their disparaging references to “raincoat trade” and “hairy-palmed viewers”, I think the audience then (and now) deserved better.

This film was not made by me, although I was there for the day. This was Ron Dorfman’s first One Day Wonder, and Sid Levine at Star Distributors was nervous about Ron’s ability to deliver a audience-ready film. I told him Ron would be fine, but Sid asked me to be on the set to make sure everything went well. It really was not necessary. The review appearing on this page is preposterous. The nameless reviewer reviewed Baby Oil as if it was an actual movie. Baby Oil was a One Day Wonder. Shot in one day for a total budget of $5,000. It is supposed to have a few sight gags and enough hard core sex to entertain a theater audience for 60 minutes. In my opinion, it does exactly what it was intended to do.