Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Now, there's nothing more subjective than comedy, and just because I found EI Independent Cinema's upcoming release PRISON-A-GO-GO (2005) to be an excruciatingly painful experience, it's possible that others might find this flick – an attempt at an AIRPLANE-styled spoof of "chicks in chains" movies like THE BIG BIRDCAGE (1972) and CAGED HEAT (1974) – hysterically funny.

It's possible. After all, I read somewhere that some people actually laugh at THE FAMILY GUY, if you can believe it.

PRISON A-GO-GO stars former USA Up All Night hostess Rhonda Shear and cult film icon Mary Woronov (in what amounts to an extended cameo, really), in a disjointed, labored parody of women's prison flicks. Director Barak Epstein manages to throw just about every cliché of the genre into the mix, along with an endless barrage of lowbrow gags (like the inmate with an endless supply of contraband items stuffed up her colon) and bizarre non sequiturs (mad scientists, ninjas, zombies), in a sad, desperate attempt to derive a laugh from his audience.

But the jokes fall flat, the pacing is leaden, and even the normally-excellent Woronov looks like she shot her scenes in one afternoon without even looking at the script.

In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that I did find one bit funny: at the end of the flick's first gratuitous shower scene (and really, is there any better kind?), a small clock appeared in the lower right hand corner of the screen with a countdown to the next shower scene. It's a cute gag, and if the filmmakers had come up with a few more ideas like this… well, there are a fair number of bare breasts on display here, and that's gotta count for something, right?

EI Independent Cinema's DVD (inexplicably labeled as part of their Shock-O-Rama horror line – maybe they know this isn't funny, too?) provides a solid widescreen transfer and over an hour of bonus material, including an interview with director Epstein, a behind-the scenes featurette, actors' audition tapes, and trailers.

BUY: Prison-A-Go-Go!