(Air Date: Week Of 8/2/87)
There is probably no subject that both men and women lie about as much as sex, but moments into "Rita, Sue and Bob Too" it seems that the filmmakers are out to set some sort of a record for dishonesty. Just for starters, we are asked to accept that the line 'Can either of you put a rubber johnny on? ' would trigger unbridled lust in two sixteen-year-old babysitters when their forty-year-old employer drives them home at his wife's suggestion. Since he has a track record with babysitters, it's hard to believe that any twenty-seven-year-old woman would set herself up like that, as well as the two girls, but the incredulity continues. Although Rita and Sue are both virgins, they experience no pain whatever from their first sexual experience.
Sex with each takes one minute flat, he's ready to roll without a break, and both girls share a simultaneous climax with Bob. If the audience has gotten this far, then it may have no problem accepting the fact that Bob's attractive wife is frigid due to her hatred of French kisses, and sterilisation, not because she's married to a faithless jerk who lies to her, then blames her for his problems. Instructive lyrics like 'We're having a gang bang. It's the thing to do. We'd like to give you one' may not bother anyone, either. The women in the film hate each other as well as themselves. They are punished not only for having sex, but also for being sexual fantasies.
The script was written by a talented teenager, now twenty-six, named Andrea Dunbar. She writes of northern England in an observant, uninterpretive style. The fact that "Rita, Sue and Bob Too" was written and produced by women makes it no less a wet dream than if men had been totally responsible for it. 'If it's put there on a plate, he's going to take it. He wouldn't be much of a man if he didn't' is the sort of sexual propaganda that women can and do swallow. It's movies like this one that harden prejudices rather than challenge them. A cute boy from Pakistan, whom Sue sees for a while, is shown as violent, manipulative and mercenary. He is written out of the plot when a white neighbor telephones the police the minute he enters his neighborhood.
Although teens Rita and Sue are obviously played by women in their twenties, the cast of unknowns is talented, the Bradford scenery is attractive, and there is a gritty quality to director Alan Clarke's vision of the drabness of these character's lives. Ultimately, though, if I'm asked to buy into fantasy, it'd be easier for me to accept "Innerspace's" premise that Dennis Quaid can be injected into Martin Short's bloodstream.
Copyright 1987 Monica Sullivan
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