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Private Popsicle
(1982)
 

Director: Boaz Davidson       
Cast:
Iftach Katzur, Zachi Noy, Jonathan Segal


One of the rules of B-movies is: any movie from Golan/Globus is fun to watch, but not always on the way intended by the two. Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus were two Israeli cousins who set themselves up as film moguls in Hollywood in 1980, buying Cannon Films and cranking out numerous schlocky movies which include American Ninja, King Solomon's Mines, Death Wish 3 and 4, Invasion USA, Bolero, and The Apple. All of their movies are fun to watch on video for laughs and sleaze, but not when you have to pay at at a theater, which explains why Cannon went bust in the late 80s. During this time, Golan/Globus didn't forget their roots, and produced Israeli movies as well. This movie, a Israeli/West German production (!!!!), was part of a series with the odd name Lemon Popsicle, and was fourth of the series. I've seen a few others of the series, and they all follow the same formula - Huey (the fat bumbler), Bobby (the slick ladies' man), and Benji (the most "normal" of the three) getting into various sexual/slapstick hijinks in Israel during the 1950s. Private Popsicle isn't really that different. If you have seen others in the series, you know what you'll get.

Huey, Bobby, and Benji this time have been drafted into the army, and celebrate their last free night out by seducing a woman (one at a time) when the other two try to keep her drunken husband asleep in the other room (while "Mr. Sandman" plays on the soundtrack). Bobby gets some, and when it's Huey's turn, the other two decide to look in the keyhole to get a laugh at Huey's "work". (For some reason, director Davidson likes to reuse this same kind of peeping in his other sex comedies). The drunken husband in the next room stumbles in past the two peepers and gets into bed, while Huey is still "working". The husband finally figures out what is happening and starts to attack Huey, and the soundtrack plays "Charlie Brown" ("Why is everybody always picking on me?"), and the three friends run out into the night ("See You Later, Alligator")

Next morning, the three friends are shipped to the army camp, where they meet the Sergeant Major. Though viewers will have cringed at the bad dubbing previously, it nowhere compares to the Sergeant Major, who has been dubbed with a heavy-handed squeaky Jewish accent that doesn't fit his macho behavior at all. There is the expected scene of physical examinations, and some curious anachronisms with the mentioning of Mick Jagger and seeing full-frontal centerfolds from Playboy. Benji, the "sensitive soul", sees a girl in the women's section of the camp and falls in love. He disguises himself as a high-ranking official and gets a date with her, on the condition he brings two friends for the girlfriends she'll bring along. When they meet at the restaurant, the Sergeant Major comes along, and the boys have to flee into the restaurant's performer's dressing room, where they dress us as (ho ho!) women. And when we see them dressed in drag, it's creepy how convincing they look like the opposite sex. The Sergeant Major sees Huey (as the woman) and falls head-over-heels in love. In order to escape without making a scene, Huey reluctantly goes back to the S.M.'s house back on base, and the S.M. tries to seduce him/her.

In the run of this movie, almost all of the misfortune (mainly sexual, but also otherwise), falls on Huey. When he tries to get out of getting a buzz cut, he ends up with a bad hair cut. When in an outhouse, the floor breaks and he falls below, unable to get out. When he pretends to be gay in order to get a health excuse from a doctor, it turns out the doctor is gay and a cross dresser, leading to a speeded-up chase around the base. One has to wonder while watching this abuse if the writer/director had some hostility against the overweight or something.

The rest of the movie is mainly a collection of vignettes. The girl discovers that Benji is only a private, and gets revenge on him by having him take off his clothes ("Oh my little soldier boy," from the song "Soldier Boy" is sung when she pulls down his pants - intentional?) and running off with them, leading him to (ha ha!) try to get back to the barracks without anyone seeing him naked. Everything comes together at the climatic meeting of all the characters back at the nightclub, leading to a very rushed ending.

I won't lie - Private Popsicle is an incredibly dumb movie, badly made, badly dubbed, filled with lame jokes, and aimed at the lowest denominator. But to my surprise, I liked it enough as a guilty pleasure. I laughed at the humor not because it was funny, but it failed so badly it became funny in a different way. It is so lame, it becomes charming. And it is utterly predictable, but it's somehow fun knowing what is going to happen before it actually happens. I've heard people complaining lately that they don't make these kind of teenage sex farces anymore. Private Popsicle shows that this theme is universally "loved", and that fact might just be the spark to revive this extraordinary genre.

Check for availability on Amazon (VHS)

See also: Hot Resort, Hot Chili, The Ambassador

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