Monday, July 02, 2012

The Pipe-Smoking Scientist Next Door

Well, the Paul Anka voyeurism movie was all right! A grim little slice of suburban rot. As I am certain you will recall, I wondered how it would stand up to BEAT GIRL. It had none of BEAT GIRL's madcap delirium. The Paul Anka voyeurism movie was unrelievedly, oppressively, suffocatingly gloomy. Unlike Beat Girl, Paul Anka doesn't have any pals. He goes out at night and some dudes surround him and promise to set him up with a "divorcée" - but they're just teasing Paul Anka! "You'll be climbing the walls yelling 'Mama! Mama! Mama!'" they remark. Speaking of which, there are two cops: an old-school cop and his young partner who has taken courses in psychology, which the older cop never tires of mocking. When the young cop says that the neighborhood peeping tom (Paul Anka, natch!) "wants to be caught" because he is "making himself known," the older cop sneers and makes a wisecrack, something like, "Freud goes to the police academy." Almost immediately thereafter, the old cop polishes his gun while talking about his mother! "She never had a dirty thought in her life," he insists. Should I note here that there will be Paul Anka voyeurism movie spoilers? I am reminded of Freud fan Megan Abbott's remark in an interview I did with her long ago: "every act of immorality is a secret cry for correction." What else happens? Well, Jack Cassidy ties his ascot effortlessly while smoking a cigarette! And after those guys taunt him, Paul Anka wanders off to four more bars of the fairly skimpy theme song, including the line (I think) "I walk alone in the city." Paul Anka is somewhat Travis Bickle-ish here. Or Bicklish, like ticklish. He goes to a newsstand and looks at magazines with titles like INTIMATE and REAL SECRETS, then he jumps on a trampoline in slow motion with his shirt unbuttoned! Jack Cassidy's neglected wife is seduced by the wise, pipe-smoking scientist next door. "Like chocolate cake?" is his opening line. Soon she is saying, "I never knew kisses could be so tender!" But it's okay because Jack Cassidy has run off to Las Vegas with Paul Anka's mom, who just dropped the hose in the yard and left it going while she made out with Jack Cassidy in his convertible right there in broad daylight in front of the cops, who are on stakeout. But that's okay because HER unemployed husband has passed out on the couch. The amazing denouement occurs during a Fourth of July lawn party that devolves into swimming-pool-based debauchery, and from thence into a bloodthirsty mob! The old cop gets drunk on whiskey and ginger ale and starts firing his gun indiscriminately as Paul Anka (whose mother, we learn, has taught him to cha-cha!) scampers over the rooftops in his horrifying mask (pictured!).