Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 21 - Door to Door (1985)

The cover of my VHS copy of Door to Door

Door to Door (1985)

Director: Patrick Bailey
Format: VHS (Media)

I have a soft spot for 80s comedies. Even those that I don't necessarily find overly-funny (Meatballs 3: Summer Job, Summer School, Up the Creek) usually have a certain charm to them (and quite often some nice T&A to go with the cheese factor).

I bought Door to Door primarily because it's quite rare. I had low expectations going into it. But there's a reason this one isn't out on DVD - it's a snoozefest. Not only does the comedy fall flat, but it's all done in a G-rated way, so there's not even any toilet humour or sleaziness to fall back on.

The biggest problem is the plot. Arliss Howard (LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK) plays a down-on-his-luck travelling salesman who pairs up with a veteran of the trade (Ron Leibman, UP THE ACADEMY) to hit the road and try to sell vacuum cleaners.

The bulk of the running time consists of these two visiting people and trying to make a sale. Then Howard's character falls for a girl (Jane Kaczmarek, the mom on Malcolm in the Middle) who is the niece of an elderly woman his partner is trying to swindle. Usually that would lead to some kind of zany hijinks, but not so here. It's all very run of the mill.

Arliss Howard is likeable enough, but Leibman's character is a con-artist and not even a likeable one at that. I didn't end up caring about any of the characters, which is always a problem. And sorry, but I couldn't look at Jane Kaczmarek without thinking of her Malcolm in the Middle character (one of the most unlikable TV parts of all time), which is another problem when her character in Door to Door is supposed to be a sweet, innocent love interest.

I don't say this often, but I really do wish I could have the hour and a half back that I spent watching this dreck.

About the only interesting thing that came out of watching it was when I was reading through its credits on IMDB and noticed a strange, unexplained connection with Antonio Margheriti's 1980 gutmuncher Cannibal Apocalypse. Five or six of the cast of Door to Door (who are in mainly small roles) also acted together in that earlier cannibalfest. There's no connection between the directors, writers or producers of the two movies that I could find and you couldn't get more different films in terms of genres and content matter, so how did this happen? Beats me.

Anyway, if you ever come across Door to Door, do yourself a favour and skip it.

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