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Teen Lust (1979)
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by Jay Seaver

"More screwiness than screwing, despite the title."
3 stars

Believe it or not, when you type "Teen Lust" in the IMDB's search box, it brings you directly to this movie. Apparently there's no fifties/sixties cautionary tale by that name, no foreign film with a title that translates to that, nothing with that as an alternate title. Maybe that would change if I said to include porn. The really funny thing, though, is that James Hong's 1979 exploitation piece focuses on the picture's "good girl".

That girl is Carol Hill (Kirsten Baker). Her mother (Dolly Carolla) is a lush; her father (Stand Kamber) is uncomfortably affectionate. Her boyfriend Terry (Perry Lang) doesn't complain too loudly when his ex DeDe (Lee Ann Barnes) tries to hook up. Carol and her best friend Neeley (Leslie Cederquist) are participating in an after-school program with the local police department, which promptly puts them to work as bait for the vice squad. She's also got a mentally retarded neighbor, Dustin (Michael Sloane), with a trust fund that her mother wants to fix her up with.

There is no credited writer on this movie, with director James Hong generally given the blame. However, this is absolutely a movie that I could see being produced with no detailed screenplay; it's a series of episodes that each have the germ of a funny idea but without much in the way of funny dialogue or a solid zing at the end of the scene. In fact, some of these bits seem to directly contradict each other, even though one wouldn't be taking place without what happened in the other!

Improvising a movie like this, if that's how it was made, is playing with fire, because the cast is very young and inexperienced. It's the only credit many members of the cast have, although that is kind of surprising in some cases. Leslie Cederquist, for instance, seems like she could have become Amanda Seyfried if given a chance. Her role is "slutty best friend", but she's a likable one who plays off Baker and Richard Singer (a likable goof as Neeley's boyfriend) well. Baker herself isn't great, although she does a fine job of being put-upon without coming across as whiny or annoying. She probably had the second-best career out of the cast; people at least remember her from Friday the 13th Part 2 before she dropped off the map a few years later (Perry Lang worked regularly in television before moving behind the camera in the late 1990s).

So, the movie looks cheap, apparently has no script, and the cast isn't that great. So why is the rating so (relatively) high? Well, for all that Hong and company never manage anything close to brilliance, they do well in staving off failure. Each episode is at least funny conceptually, none of them get played out past being tiresome, and unlike a lot of slapdash B movies, the entire cast seems to be on the same page: They're all equally hammy, closer to "theatrical" than "incompetent", and as a result, nobody is really making anybody else look bad.

That leads to a fairly steady stream of chuckles. The big laugh is rare, but so is the big groan. It's crude and exploitative, but also kind of loopy, enough that it maybe wouldn't work with more talent and a higher budget. "Teen Lust" isn't a smashing success, but it's a heck of an amiable skin flick.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=21034&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/25/10 00:05:21
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Directed by
  James Hong

Written by
  James Hong

  Kirsten Baker
  Perry Lang
  Leslie Cederquist
  Richard Singer
  Robert Gribbin

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