A sexploitationer dressed up in politically correct garb, “Improper Conduct” is a minor league time killer that’s neither suspenseful nor erotic. Tale of femme revenge against a boss who demands too much overtime is video fare all the way, although producers are giving it token theatrical exposure.
Jag Mundhra has made more than a dozen steamy thrillers, such as “Night Eyes, “”Wild Cactus” and “Last Call,” that have generated a certain following on vid. But if “Improper Conduct” is any indication, his plotting and direction will have to become a good deal less formulaic and programmatic if he’s going to graduate to solid big screen fare.
Beginning with the murder of a blonde secretary in a New York office stairway , pic picks up at an L.A. office party, where ad agency employe Tahnee Welch discreetly gets it on with one of her co-workers.
New marketing head John Laughlin arrives from Gotham with his pregnant wife (Kathy Shower), who also happens to be boss Stuart Whitman’s daughter; Laughlin begins taking a special interest in Welch’s work, constantly touching her and making untoward remarks.
When he finally goes over the edge and attacks her in an elevator, Welch takes him to court on sexual harassment charges, with hunky Steven Bauer as her attorney. But she can’t prove anything and, after having been painted as the office slut by the defense and losing the case to boot, she does herself in by cracking up in a car.
Yarn’s second half is devoted to the revenge extracted by Welch’s sister, Lee Anne Beaman, who gets herself hired by Laughlin with the express intent of setting him up for the big fall. Central scene is a motel tryst between the two that’s videotaped and repeatedly shown as blackmail.
Helmer has made a special effort to insure that everyone onscreen is very attractive but is less concerned that they be interesting. Major liability is Welch’s character, who is uniquely sour and dispirited no matter what the occasion. But then every character is allowed only one dimension: Laughlin is lecherous, Beaman determined, Whitman hale and hearty, and so on.
Bauer’s cover boy lawyer is particularly ill-defined, although Nia Peeples contributes some welcome spunk as his perky assistant. With the exception of Peeples, all the younger leads have at least one nude sex scene, although the couplings are quite tame and politely choreographed.
Tech credits are smooth for the most part, although sound mix is a little spotty and Mundhra’s moving camera coverage becomes wearisome after the first few scenes.