Recap Attack: “Bar Girls”

Gettin’ down — They continue to dance inside the house until Loretta (apparently rather winded) flops on the couch, legs spread wide. This scares Rachel a little, so she says she’d better be going.

But Loretta convinces her to stay a little longer. And she convinces Rachel to hang out in the bedroom, because it’s “more intimate.”

Loretta: You’re really safe, you know. Because I’m actually seeing someone right now.
Rachel: Oh. Well, that’s cool. ’Cause I’m married.
Loretta: Oh, really?
Rachel: To a man.
Loretta: Oh, that’s a bummer.
Rachel: What do you care? You’re in love with someone anyway, right?
Loretta: Well, yeah, I am. Actually, so is she, but I think it’s with somebody else. Or herself; I’m not quite sure.
Rachel: Actually, I’m not very married right now. I am seeing a woman that I like way too much.
Loretta: What’s “too much”?
Rachel: At all.

Well, after this conversation, I guess it’s not really false advertising to put the words “lesbian drama” on the DVD case.

They proceed to talk about their exes. For each ex, we get a little video vignette that captures the ex’s personality. We see Loretta and her “current nightmare,” Annie the Psycho Jock, on the beach. Annie wants to have sex right there on the beach, but Loretta says she can’t “do it” unless she’s in love.

Annie: Oh. I can understand that. I’ll wait.

Annie also talks about her other girlfriend, who’s straight; they’ve been together for four celibate years. Loretta calls this “pretty unusual.” Ya think?

Then we see Rachel and her current girlfriend, Sandy. Naturally, Sandy’s not thrilled that Rachel’s married.

Rachel: I didn’t think it would be such a big deal.

Say it with me: Who are these people?

The next day, I guess — Loretta and her business partner, Noah, are talking about the superhero cartoon they write. It’s called Heavy Myrtle, and Myrtle is a couples’ counselor. We even get to see a little of it. I use “get to” in the sense of “feel forced to like that guy whose eyes are peeled open with little metal prongs in A Clockwork Orange.”

Another day, or hour, or whatever — Loretta and her friend Veronica are having lunch at Little Frida’s, a lesbian coffee house. The waitress flirts with Veronica, and Veronica flirts right back. When the waitress tries to get Veronica to try the Tofutti chocolate mousse, we get a semi-funny moment:

Veronica: I’m on a macrobiotic diet.
Waitress: Really? I’m on a juice fast.
Loretta: [interrupting] I eat whatever I want.

Yeah, I’m reaching.

Veronica decides she has to make love to “that woman,” and asks Loretta to “get me that lesbian.”

Loretta: I can’t just get you a lesbian. They’re not like a pair of shoes.

But she says she’ll introduce Veronica to a couple of ladies, if Veronica promises to act human.

The bar — It’s Hawaiian night or something; there are leis everywhere. Celia’s trying to drum up some business by having theme nights. Do what you want, Celia: It’s still gonna look like a glorified basement.

Loretta and Annie are discussing Annie’s “dangerous” straight girlfriend, Chauncey, who is apparently rather abusive. Loretta gives Annie an ultimatum. Annie says, “Loretta, you know I’m in love with you, but Chauncey is everything to me.”

Just as Annie and Loretta start to yell at each other and break up, Rachel and Sandy walk in. Awkward. And yet not at all surprising, because these four seem to be the only people who frequent this rec room.

Annie: [leaving] Loretta, don’t bother to call me, because I’ll be at Chauncey’s.
Loretta: Oh, yeah? Well don’t bother to call me, either, because I will be right here. [whirling around, surveying her surroundings] At the bar.

Permit me to give Nancy Allison Wolfe (Loretta) a teensy tiny bit of praise: I love the way she says that line. When she spins around, it’s almost reminiscent of a ’40s scenery-chewer. And the way she says “at the bar” is a nice little bit of self-mockery.

Trouble is, this is pretty much the only time she actually aims for the melodramatic; the rest of the time, she just stumbles into it and can’t find her way back. (Check her out on IMDb: a storied career, indeed.)

Rachel sits down and tries to comfort Loretta a little: “She’ll be back. They always come back a few more times, just to make you suffer, if nothing else.”

What is that? A lesson in What Lesbians Are Like, or the tagline for a horror movie?

Rachel, Sandy, and Loretta go to the bar for drinks.

Loretta: Celia, can we get some help down here?
Celia: It’s a little late for a brain transplant.

That’s funny, right? Or rather, it could have been, if it hadn’t been delivered so unintelligibly and unintelligently. I usually can’t decide whether it’s the writing, the acting or the directing that makes lesbian movies as abysmal as they often are. In this case, I’ve gotta go with directing: Everything feels like the first take or even the first read. But this movie was a play before it hit celluloid, and many/all of the actors were in the play too. Oh, whatever.

Celia offers some advice: “Never fall in love with half a woman, because chances are the other half is at home designing voodoo dolls.”

Loretta: Ce? Just a drink, please.

Hey, don’t reject her fortune cookies so quickly: She might be the wisest one in this gin joint. That’s a scary thought.

Celia offers them “Love Potion No. 10”: “One sip of this will make you recognize your one true love, and you won’t settle until you win her over.”

But the stuff tastes disgusting; Celia reveals that she’s been “trying to get rid of that liqueur for months.” Loretta points out that Celia didn’t drink any of the potion with them, which leads Rachel to compare Celia to the “leader lemming who doesn’t actually jump off the cliff.”

Loretta seems absolutely amazed and enchanted by Rachel’s comment. It’s like she’s suddenly beholding the face of the Virgin Mary on a bagel.

Loretta: [stunned] I can’t believe you know about lemmings.

Um, who doesn’t know about lemmings? And why would it matter either way? Celia says it for me:

Celia: What’s so special about a suicidal rodent?

Loretta and Rachel decide (no doubt because of the suicidal rodents) that the love potion is working. Sandy says she doesn’t feel a thing, but the next thing you know, she’s passed out and Rachel and Loretta are still flirting. Loretta offers Rachel a ride home, but Rachel’s got her bike.

They leave, and are surprised to see that dawn has broken (actually, it’s more like broad daylight). Loretta drives along in her convertible as Rachel pumps the pedals.

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