Purvis (Luther Whaney) is a small town boy with big dreams to follow in the footsteps of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Johnny Cash (apparently in that order). One day, he decides to ditch country life and move to the big city of New York to become a star singer/song-writer. To accomplish this goal, he’ll have to combat pimps, horny cougars, a sleazy manager (Cindy Tree) a crooked promoter (Bobby Astyr), and more as he ascends to the top of showbiz world.
There’s actually nary a toga party in Toga Party; apparently, this is one of those drive-in circuit flicks that passed through a bunch of different producers and exhibitors, resulting in multiple versions of the movie. It was originally called Pelvis, but some versions (apparently) feature a frame story where a group of friends gather for a toga party, then watch the movie and make out during it (or something). Anyway, the version I watched (from the not-so-appropriately titled Toga Party set from Brentwood) features the Toga Party title, but no actual toga partying. But that’s really the least of this movie’s problems, as it’s quite tedious and terribly unfunny for the most part.
Don’t get me wrong: despite not living up to the title, there’s still plenty of sexual escapades, as the flick plows through naked babes with reckless abandon. The only problem is that it can’t conjure up many laughs to go along with them; its funniest moment comes really early, when we’re first introduced to Purvis via an outhouse confessional scene. Cute little bumpkin Mary-Lou (Mary Mitchell) confesses her sins to a randy priest who is all to eager to hear about her exploits. It’s here we learn that this guy Purvis has a big dong, which is about all we really learn about him besides his penchant for writing terrible music (one song insists he once knew a man who screwed a chicken) and his ability to do a really crappy Elvis impersonation. He manages to find himself in a lot of outrageous situations, but the film is so poorly made that it just fails to be consistently funny. I guess there are a few chuckles here and there (mostly when people marvel at the size of his member), but the “country boy in the big city” stuff has been done much better on several occasions.
I’ll admit that the movie is sometimes wildly inappropriate enough to illicit some nervous laughs; there’s a decided racist and homophobic streak that shows up a lot of times--that stuff isn’t funny. However, the fact that Purvis hits it big with a hit single called “Nazi Woman” (from whom he needs “love, so Aryan”) is pretty funny; I think there’s supposed to be some kind of satirical element about selling your soul to get to the top that would actually make for something interesting if it were always there. The biggest target for that type of humor is the sleazy manager, who tries to allure Purvis with the promise of “14 year old broads” (what?!) at one point. Oh, there’s also a joke about burning down the World Trade Center that’ll make you wince too. After 70 minutes of random chicanery and being manipulated by the business, our hero is finally faced with an actual conflict that you’ll see coming a mile away. It comes with a Wizard of Oz reference, which will only make you wish you could click your heels 3 times and escape to a better movie. (Brett G.)
Tale of the Tape: