Pop Up Fly: SQUEEZE PLAY (Troma 1979)

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Welcome to the wacky, wonderful world of 70’s sexploitation comedies. Today we’ll be dealing with two Great American Obsessions: boobs and baseball! (Actually, it’s softball here, but why quibble).  SQUEEZE PLAY is brought to you by Lloyd Kaufman and his team at Troma Entertainment, the folks responsible for such cinematic gems as THE TOXIC AVENGER and CLASS OF NUKE EM HIGH. Let’s slide right into the plot of the movie, shall we?

SQUEEZE PLAY is your basic Battle of the Sexes romp. The Beavers are the champs of the Mattress Workers Softball League, and the guys on the team have been ignoring their women folk for softball. This is causing much friction between them (and not the pleasant kind!), especially our two leads, team captain Wes and his fiancée Samantha. Things change when Mary Lou, a pretty heiress on the run, comes to town and demonstrates a killer arm (seems she’s a softball veteran). The gals decide to form their own team, called The Beaverettes, and challenge the guys to a game, which concludes the film.

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Who wins? Does it matter? SQUEEZE PLAY’s thin plot is just an excuse to highlight a truckload of sexual innuendoes, double entendres, gross-out comedy bits, and naked boobs! There’s a subplot involving a Private Detective named Koch searching for Mary Lou, but again it’s an excuse to work in some banter about “Koch” and “Private Dick”.  The film gives a nod to Women’s Lib by having the Beaverettes wear “Support the ERA” on their jerseys, otherwise it’s completely politically incorrect. It’s just a fun, frisky movie from a bygone era (remember “Wet T-Shirt Nights” anyone?), and ultimately harmless.

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Director Samuel Weil is really Lloyd Kaufman, the mad genius behind Troma. Filmed on a budget of $150,000, it was independently released before being picked up by 20th Century-Fox. The film did well on the circuit, and gained more exposure in the early 80’s when it was endlessly run on Showtime (where I first saw it). Among the many films Troma have independently distributed are BLOODSUCKING FREAKS, SURF NAZIS MUST DIE, and DEF BY TEMPTATION. Kaufman and his Troma Entertainment are still around, mainly through their On Demand service, keeping the true indie film spirit alive.

The cast is mostly unknown, though there’s a few Familiar Faces dotting the landscape. Jennifer Hetrick (Samantha) is known to fans of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION and DEEP SPACE NINE as the adventuress Vash. Al Corley (Buddy) was the original Steven Carrington on the primetime soap DYNASTY. Michael Moran (Bozo) had small roles in SCARFACE, 9 1/2 WEEKS, and GHOSTBUSTERS II. Irwin Keyes (the bar bouncer) was a character actor of note, featured in HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY, and OBLIVION. Mike Starr (the bar owner) is another actor you may recall from GOODFELLAS, DUMB AND DUMBER, and ED WOOD. Brenda Kaplan (Brenda) later changed her name to Brenda K. Starr and had a hit record with 1987’s “I Still Believe”, later covered by Mariah Carey. Starr is still active in the Latino/dance music scene.

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So, is SQUEEZE PLAY worth your time? Well, I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. It’s raunchy and goofy, but mild compared to others of its era. Troma aficionados will want to see it for an early look at Lloyd Kaufman’s work, and 70’s grindhouse fans will get a kick out of it. It’s the kind of film they just don’t make anymore. I’m not going to judge whether that’s good or bad. Personally, I liked it, and if you’re in the right mood, you probably will, too. Just don’t expect FIELD OF DREAMS or THE NATURAL.

 

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