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Nudity Required

Fun as far as it goes, "Nudity Required" still needs a few more things, and nakedness might be one of them. Tale of guys who decide to shoot their own soft-core porn in order to meet chicks seems rife with gross-out possibilities, but helmer and coscripter Steven Boe keeps things on the gentle side -- a strategy that makes for likable characters but somewhat tame, occasionally incoherent humor.

With:
With: Keith Andreen, Roberto Raad, Whitney Leigh, Steve Tancora, Marcia Walter, Steve Gibbons, Jayne Trcka , Derek Crabbe, Ribert Nassry, Scott Beattie, Michael Gilden, Cherise Bangs, Jaclyn, Erica and Nicole Dahm.

Fun as far as it goes, “Nudity Required” still needs a few more things, and — from a marketer’s point of view, anyway — nakedness might be one of them. Tale of guys who decide to shoot their own soft-core porn in order to meet chicks seems rife with gross-out possibilities, but helmer and coscripter Steven Boe keeps things on the gentle side — a strategy that makes for likable characters but somewhat tame, occasionally incoherent humor. Title at least assures that vid-shot pic will have a shot on vid.

Keith Andreen and Roberto Raad more than pull their weight as Todd and Oded, respectively, two dudes who work in a bowling alley in Nowhere, Washington. (Interiors were shot in L.A., while nifty second-unit work was done in the Bremerton, Wash., area.)

Todd has just been dumped by the girl of his rather short-sighted dreams, and since she’s gone off to pursue an acting career, it’s not that hard for porn-dog Oded to talk him into holding fake cattle calls for a movie he’s never going to actually make. Naturally, things get out of hand, and the flick, called “Hollywood Chicks,” takes on a life of its own.

The central protags, including tough-mama coworker Joey (funny Whitney Leigh, who also cowrote the flick under her married name), are engaging, but the script isn’t always kind, or consistent, to them. Todd gets prissier as things go along, and the relationship with his Barbara Billingsly-like mother (funny Marcia Walter) becomes more baffling. Joey comes up with unaccountably wise and articulate statements for a trailer-park type who favors men you have to bail out of prison.

And Oded gets the worst of it, ending up as the butt of almost every joke once the porn cameras start rolling. Shot after shot shows him rebuffed by babes (like the Playboy-endorsed Dahm Triplets) when his behavior is usually more cute than obnoxious. Pic-within-a-pic finale has no payoff.

Overall sensation is that the Boes are witty, overly prolific writers who need to pare down the sitcom shtick, give their creations some room to grow, and allow themselves to tackle some of the thornier subjects they raise. Just because the “American Pie” franchise is limp underneath all the bluster doesn’t mean these indie upstarts can’t get genuinely naughty.

Nudity Required

Production: A Nonla Films/Squish Kitty Prods. (Los Angeles) production. Produced by Charlie Nguyen, Steven Boe, Whitney Boe. Directed, edited, music by Steven Boe. Screenplay, Steven Boe, Whitney Boe.

Crew: Camera (color, DigiBeta), Nick Mustille; production designer, Stefan Beese; art director, Bruce McAlpine; costume designer, Zoe Bui; sound (Dolby), Jimmy Pham; assistant director, Day Ngueyen; casting, Whitney Boe. Reviewed at Seattle Film Festival, June 10, 2003. Running time: 101 MIN.

With: With: Keith Andreen, Roberto Raad, Whitney Leigh, Steve Tancora, Marcia Walter, Steve Gibbons, Jayne Trcka , Derek Crabbe, Ribert Nassry, Scott Beattie, Michael Gilden, Cherise Bangs, Jaclyn, Erica and Nicole Dahm.

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