There’s a certain kind of movie that I refer to as a “Marcel” movie.
The name is in honor of a friend’s son who, when I met him, was 7 years old and enthusiastic about Ninja Turtles and X-Men comic books.
Age, if not temperament, seemed to explain his yen for such movies as “Kuffs” and “The Mighty Ducks.” Trouble is, his tastes seemed to reflect much of what Hollywood considered decent family product.
And so his face always looms in my mind whenever I try to picture the target audience of most mainstream movies. Just as it did today when I began to write about “Milk Money,” which should be available in most video stores this weekend.
“Milk Money” is an amazing achievement, if only as an example of misconception. It’s one of those motion pictures that, even in the pitch meeting, must have sounded outrageously stupid.
“So there is this trio of elementaryschool-age boys, see, and being normal guys of the ‘90s they are sexually curious. Only they don’t have an outlet. So they hatch this scheme whereby they collect as much money as they can, bicycle to the big city and pay a prostitute to take off her clothes.”
Wait a minute, here. She takes off her clothes?
“Yeah, and that’s not all. She’s got this crazy pimp who steals a bunch of money and who gets killed by his boss. Only then, the killer thinks the prostitute took it. The money, that is. So she ends up going home with the three boys, and then she finds out she’s in trouble and needs to hide. Enter one of the kids, whose father is a widower schoolteacher.”
Don’t tell me. The kid ends up trying to pair up Dad and prostitute.
“How’d you guess? Anyway, before that happens, the kid decides to let the prostitute live in his treehouse for her own protection.”
“Yeah, but she has to come inside to use the bathroom, which leads to all sorts of funny predicaments because, you know, she likes bubble baths. Things get really wild when the killer pimp comes to town. And I haven’t even told you about the sexeducation class where the kid uses the prostitute as a living model. She’s dressed in a skin-tight bodysuit. Which the kid draws on. With a Magic Marker.”
And you expect to sell this as a family film?
Good question, one that no one involved in this production apparently asked. For some reason, the persons responsible (it was directed by Richard Benjamin) saw no problem with a female character taking money from adolescent boys and baring her body in return (imagine if the story had concerned three adolescent girls and a Chippendales dancer).
Of course, the Motion Picture Association of America must not have seen a problem either because it decided to reward “Milk Money” with a PG-13 rating. Apparently, because the film features no explicit nudity, violence or profanity, “Milk Money” is considered no less objectionable than, say, “Forrest Gump” or “The Brady Bunch Movie.”
Apparently, there is no rating merely for bad taste.
At least for 7-year-olds.
In this latest variation on “Romeo and Juliet,” the setting is Houston and the time frame is now. Rookie director Doug McHenry, who coproduced “New Jack City,” sets things up from the beginning: Brothers Jason (Allen Payne) and Josh (Bokeem Woodbine) responded to their brutal childhood by going opposite ways, Jason to work and Josh to jail. As the glue that holds what’s left of his family together, Jason feels the pull to flee his life when he meets the beautiful Lyric (Jada Pinkett). But can they get away in time? The film, written by Bobby Smith Jr., falls down at the end. But there are moments to ponder throughout. Rated R.
“Parallel Lives” - An ensemble cast led by James Belushi, Liza Minnelli, Dudley Moore and Treat Williams deals with murder at a class reunion.
“Warrior Spirit” - Two boys set out on a dangerous quest for Canadian gold.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with story: What’s new to view Available this weekend: “Milk Money” (Paramount), “Jason’s Lyric” (Polygram), “Parallel Lives” (Paramount), “Warrior Spirit” (Vidmark), “WWF Royal Rumble” (CVI). Available on Tuesday: “Stargate” (LIVE), “The River Wild” (MCA/Universal).
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