By Richard Winters
My Rating: 3 out of 10
4-Word Review: Adult style Candid Camera
Allen Funt was a man who started a show in the 40’s on radio called ‘Candid Microphone’, which would catch everyday people in weird, unexpected situations and then get their reactions. With the advent of TV the show switched to the new medium and called itself ‘Candid Camera’ and it became a hit that lasted well into the 70’s. This movie looks at some of the X-rated gags that were too hot for TV. The majority of them have to do with naked women bumping into unsuspecting men in public and getting their reaction. There are also hidden cameras showing viewers watching this movie and then getting their feedback.
The majority of the film really isn’t all that funny. The reactions of the people are predictable and the novelty of seeing people caught off guard by the sight of a naked beautiful woman wears off pretty quickly. Some of the better moments include an interview with a middle-aged woman who sleeps around with a lot of men and admits that she likes it when they get rough with her during sex as that heightens the excitement. There is also an interview with a seventeen-year-old girl who confides to already having sex with 20 men and feels that it can enhance the marriage by being more sexually experienced and not a virgin. Then the girl’s mother watches the interview and admits that although she did ‘save herself for marriage’ she regrets it and feels that her daughter has a good point. Another funny segment deals with a woman looking to be at least 90 who talks about liking big penises and reading sex manuals that shocks even Funt.
Some of the moments where people don’t react instead of when they do are actually more interesting particularly when various different women find themselves alone in a room with a naked man. Another segment deals with an interracial couple openly making out in public, which at the time was still considered ‘controversial’, while in front of senior citizens who respond indifferently and even ignore it, which if anything gets Funt upset and he tries to goad them a little, but to no effect.
The film’s biggest weakness is that it tries biting-off-more-than-it-can-chew. The ‘Candid Camera’ TV-show was nothing more than a gimmick for laughs and this film should have left it at that level, but instead Funt tries to make some ‘profound’ statement in relation to society’s sexual hypocrisy and changing mores that now seem dated and derivative. What may have been titillating at the time is now stale and boring.
The movie’s musical score is another major problem. All the songs have a generic ‘Sesame Street’ melody to them and the lyrics of each song narrate what is happening on the screen, which isn’t necessary and condescending to the viewer.
There is also a segment where Funt interviews people on the street asking them if they know how birds have sex, which I found interesting because I never thought about it before and it got me to go to Wikipedia to read about it. However, the film never answers its own question, which I thought was weak. They should have shown some nature footage of two birds ‘getting-it-on’, which probably would have been the most provocative and genuinely fascinating thing in the whole movie.
My Rating: 3 out of 10
Released: February 18, 1970
Runtime: 1Hour 25Minutes
Director: Allen Funt
Studio: United Artists
Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video