Starring: Dolly Parton, Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise,
Director: Colin Higgins
In Texas, a historical whorehouse has long been part of the local community, run by Mona (Parton), who gives back to the community and makes sure that “her girls” are well behaved and taken care of. It’s all in the nature of good, clean but still sexy fun. Mona has a great relationship with the town sherriff (Reynolds) which is tested to the full when a TV investigator (DeLuise) attacks the whorehouse for being a den of vice.
It’s a loud and showy film, with plenty of laughs and big dance numbers, some of which are quite catchy. And some of the tunes, such as I Will Always Love You will be quite familiar. The characters are all quite cartoonish and amongst the women characters, only Dolly’s Mona really has any defined character.
To me, a film about a whorehouse that’s a musical is a really odd concept. It’s all made very pretty and palatable, with no darker side, and the sex is all kind of jokingly salacious and not much is seen. I’m not sure who this film is for… It’s like it’s meant to attract men, but then, it’s a musical which is not really men’s traditional fare.
Dolly and Reynolds have some chemistry, but it’s not enough to carry the film, though they are both very good. Their scenes together are quite fun, and honestly, I would have liked more of them and less of the plot about the community wanting the whorehouse even though it’s illegal. On the whole, the film feels like it’s not really about anything. The whorehouse is an old part of the community, it’s illegal, someone makes a fuss about it being illegal on TV, it’s shut down. That’s about it. And it takes a long time to get through all of that, because every man woman and football team has a song.
Of course, as you’d expect, Dolly looks amazing, with her massive hair and extensive wardrobe, and she manages to be warm and funny, and sing some songs beautifully and with personality. But she’s really the only reason to see this, unless you love musicals that have a 1980’s level of bare breasts.
See It If: I’m glad I saw this, it’s good to be open minded about genre’s you don’t normally watch, and this film is out to be fun and not taken too seriously, but it’s all a bit odd and overlong. One for fans of Dolly movies.