Bitch Slap: Sapphic Overtones Aimed at Hetero Male Titillation


Touted as a cross between Russ Meyer, Blaxploitation, and Memento, director Rick Jacobson’s Bitch Slap is the latest proof that calculated camp in the form of homage is near-impossible to pull off. (Last year’s Black Dynamite was the rare successful experiment.) When the femme trio of a seemingly naïve stripper, a drug-running gun-for-hire, and a corporate powerbroker try to abscond with a psycho gang-lord’s fortune in diamonds, things immediately go awry and bodies pile up left and right. Co-written by Jacobson and Eric Gruendemann, the film is structurally ambitious, though derivative, in that each successive flashback takes the viewer further back in time as the layers of the main characters are gradually peeled back. In keeping with the film’s giddy superficiality, what’s revealed is a series of sexy poses passed off as character depth. All the backstabbing, shifting alliances, and dark motives are held together by adolescent, innuendo-laden dialogue and thick Sapphic overtones aimed purposely at hetero male titillation. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that Jacobson’s clunky sampling across genres and mediums (from Kill Bill to Victoria’s Secret television ads) underscores the fact that he’s stuck in snickering, 14-year-old fanboy mode, merely riffing on the surfaces of the things that gave power to the B-films and filmmakers he’s emulating.

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