3/4/09

RVOD052 How Much Affection?

(1958, Educational-Short, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

Darling, I've never felt this way before. So bland. So nearly comatose.


Rating: **1/2

In a Nutshell:


Thirty-something teens struggle to keep their raging hormones under control.

Summary:

Enough to let her know you like her, and not enough to get you slapped.Mary flees Jeff’s car in tears as soon as he pulls up by her house. In her room, she sobs and confesses to her mother that she and Jeff almost went all the way. Her mother looms into horrifying close-up and surmises that Mary is every bit as much to blame as Jeff, and that they should learn to control themselves better.

Jeff and Mary awkwardly make up at school, just before a meeting of the Overage Teen Committee for Stealing Cartoons from Fallen Former Friends. Jeff and Mary meet the Fallen Former Friend in question on their way home, cooing at her unwanted baby and patiently nodding along to her bald-faced lies about how happy she is that she was forced to drop out of school and marry her boyfriend. An interspersed montage of her home life tells the real story. Her teen husband’s newly married status forced him to abandon his dreams of law school, and now he works at a steel mill instead. Nowadays he refuses to get up on time or help around the house, generally treating his family with undisguised contempt.

Now we cut to a party where Jeff asks Mary to wear his class ring as a symbol of his love. She accepts, and they smooch tenderly on the porch. Their friends urge them to go “parking” with them, but Jeff refuses, opting instead to go home to hang out with Mary’s parents. Turns out that Mary’s parents have decided to go out of town on a whim, leaving Jeff and Mary with the whole house to themselves. They switch on the radio and start to dance, while previous words of caution ring through their heads. As the scene fades to black, we are left to wonder, will they or won’t they?

Tho
ughts:

So bland, so nearly comatose...I’ve kinda got mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, How Much Affection is old and stodgy and poorly paced. It stretches no more than ten minutes worth of morality play into twice that length, making it one of the longest Rifftrax shorts released thus far. On the other hand, I actually agree with what it’s trying to say, to wit: don’t let your gonads do your thinking for you. They’re relatively stupid, and do not have your best interests at heart. On yet a third hand, I really have a problem with a mindset that forces pregnant teens to marry before they’re ready. Children’s lives are too precious to waste by using them as punishment. It’s like catching a bank robber and then expecting him to learn his lesson by making him your banker.

The commentary works well enough. When Mary describes how hot and heavy things were getting with Jeff, Mike adds, “The couch we were sitting on melted.” When we see Fallen Former Friend’s new baby, Kevin says, “Hi, I’m an unwanted statistic.” When Mary asks after the baby’s name, Bill replies, “Boat Anchor.” My favorite quote comes at then end, when we see that the film was made in Canada and Kevin assumes, “They were referring to Canadian affection, which is nothing at all like real affection. Or is that bacon?” Despite some good comments, the short is ultimately defeated by being too long for its subject matter, with too little to consistently mock.