Screenplay by Diana Paschal / Directed by Maurice Levy & Harry Wuest (according to IMDb)
Brenda is having a good day. She is a smart, successful businesswoman. She has a luxurious home. She has just been serviced in the bathtub by Tony, her live-in gigolo.
|Brenda pays Tony for the splish-splash|
Big Shim is having a good day. She is a smart, successful criminal. She is proud to have recently busted a few cohorts out of the slammer. She has just had a voyeuristic experience with Baby, her girlfriend.
|Big Shim and her cone bra will not be ignored|
Tony is having a good day. He is a handsome, successful sex worker. He is driving a new car that Brenda bought for him. He has just been hired on the side to provide service for Big Shim’s three cohorts.
Sweety East is having a good day. She is a smart, successful detective. She is happy with her wildcat roommate. She has just been hired by Brenda to rescue Tony because the good day has turned bad.
|Sweety East to the rescue|
Big Shim has gotten wind of Tony’s lush lifestyle with the rich businesswoman, so she decides to hold him for ransom. Brenda can’t afford a scandal, so she is willing to pay whatever it takes to get Tony back unharmed. Sweety East agrees to disguise herself as Brenda for the ransom drop and will name her fee after the job is done.
That’s the plot of SHE MOB in a nutshell. I stumbled upon this obscure film while browsing through the Vinegar Syndrome website and I was drawn in for two reasons. First, the crazy trailer seriously entertained me. Second, the intriguing description (“Imagine an alt-Earth FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! as realized by a young JOHN WATERS”) may have peaked my interest, so I ordered a copy.
Comparing SHE MOB to Russ Meyer’s classic and early John Waters isn’t completely inaccurate. The plot contains similar elements to FASTER, PUSSYCAT KILL! KILL! There’s a group of strong women out to score some loot. There’s sexual tension between two of the women. Plus, there’s plenty of violence, especially as Big Shim and her cohorts torture Tony. Then there are a few characters that could’ve escaped from a John Waters film. I can even imagine some Waters regulars stepping into the roles. Mink Stole would’ve captured the electric energy of Twig, one of the cohorts, as she is constantly dancing in almost every scene. Mary Vivian Pearce would’ve nailed the sultry boredom emanating from Sweety East as she investigates in her skin tight detective outfit. Last, but certainly not least, Divine in the dual roles of Brenda and Big Shim would’ve been…well…divine! Alas, that version only exists in the faraway alt-Earth.
|BigShim loves my casting choices|
All that being said, SHE MOB never fully captures neither the frantic pulse of Russ Meyer nor the offbeat drum of John Waters. It is generally entertaining, but drags a bit. I blame the off-kilter pacing on the director(s), and some of the actors, more than the screenwriter. The highlight of the entire film is Marni Castle as Brenda and Big Shim. Especially Big Shim! This unapologetically tough as nails lesbian, with her equally tough cone bra, is the MAIN reason to see SHE MOB. Though Monique Duval as Sweety East has her moments, but I might have gotten more out of this character if I had seen the TV series HONEY WEST (1965-1966).
I have mixed feelings about SHE MOB. I was initially disappointed to a certain degree but repeat viewings have made me appreciate it more. So, while not great, SHE MOB is worth watching. Plus, it is interesting to note that, according to the back of the blu-ray, the film was shot in Texas and features “actresses culled from Jack Ruby's infamous Dallas nightclub.” So, SHE MOB is, like, historically and culturally important or something.
Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.
P.S. SHE MOB was the fourth place winner in a Twitter poll I conducted to decide which film I should review now that my blog serial is over.
So, click the pic ⤵️ to check out the first place winner…
Click the pic ⤵️ to read my blog serial…