CAR BABES (2007)
Starring Ben Savage, Jon Gries, Blake Clark, Donnell Rawlings, Marshall Manesh, David Shackleford, John Campo, Carolina Garcia, Kevan Blackton, Stephanie Keeney, Arj Barker, George Maguire, Amy Resnick, Jeff Ingram, Cindy Goldfield and Heather Ashley.
Screenplay by Blake Dirickson, Nick Fumia and Chris Wolf.
Directed by Nick Fumia and Chris Wolf.
Distributed by Radio London Films. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13.
I can’t quite decide if the guy who named this movie Car Babes — despite the fact that almost none of the significant roles are played by women — is a marketing genius or incredibly cynical. Probably a little of both.
After all, a lot of guys scanning a video shelf and seeing lots of titles they’ve never heard of can get confused. However, a certain type of viewer will see a title like Car Babes and think, “I like cars. I like babes. Let’s check this out.”
Of course it’s a tiny bit of a bait-and-switch. Oh, sure, there is a share of hot girls sprinkled in to keep things interesting. But most of the people looking for a raunchy romp will be surprised to find more of a workplace comedy trying to be a low-brow spin on the Glengarry Glen Ross small-time-salesmen formula. Then again, most people who are looking for a movie called Car Babes will not even know what Glengarry Glen Ross is.
The term babes here seems to be more in the “Hey, I just jetted in from the coast, babe…” vernacular. Or perhaps as in “babe in the woods” — as Ford (played by grown-up Boy Meets World star Ben Savage) has to learn the car sales biz from the bottom. Well, not exactly the bottom, his father is the owner of the lot, so he isn’t quite as desperate or as guarded as most of the other workers.
Car Babes can’t quite decide what it wants to be. It’s trying to be both a comedy and a drama and it doesn’t quite connect on either level. Most of the characters are too broad and cartoonish to be taken seriously when the plot motors into important issues like alcoholism, big vs. small business and unrequited love. Every time the film works hard to make a sober point, there will be a fight or goofball quip or pratfall that lets all of the air out of the tires.
As you can tell by his character’s name, Ford was born into the car biz. His father is one of those obnoxious local used-car dealers who does his own cheesy commercials. Ford is trying hard to find a job — any job — outside of the family business. Finally, though, he is forced by circumstance to clip on a name tag and learn the sales game.
Of course, it is just at this moment that his dad is in the middle of the fight of his business life with a slimy good-ol-boy trailer dealer. There is a spy in the dealership, the salesmen feel the coming doom and turn on each other and dad is losing the will to fight. So Ford has to step up big time to save the company.
In the meantime, Ford learns about responsibility and what is important in life — even trading up from a beautiful-but-shallow blonde girlfriend (probably a bit too beautiful for him, honestly…) to a beautiful-caring-and-car-loving Hispanic one (but again, probably a bit out of his league). The two girls circle around him and in their own ways try to win him over, and then will turn on a dime to be furious with him. And Ford, apparently not quite recognizing how much out of his weight-class he is dating, is more than happy to allow that anger to fester and to disappear from both of their lives for extended periods. He never just says what he thinks, instead he jumps to conclusions and sulks.
The screenplay can be a little sloppy. When Ford breaks up with his one cute-but-shallow girlfriend because she gets a job in a Hooters-esque restaurant called Melonz, within a matter of weeks she is Miss October in the restaurant’s calendar — which was the current month so it would have had to have been from the last year! Then again, he is working as an used-car salesman, does he really have that much wiggle room to judge her job as a waitress/hostess?
So will Ford win the day, save the family business and marry the hot Latina? Or will evil conspicuous consumption RVs take over the world? You may have a guess, but there’s only one way to find out for sure.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 5, 2007.