Here's the synopsis which got me to view this. "All-girl rock band the Vinyl Dolls has a problem: Artistic differences with their guitarist have left the band without their best player right before they are to start a week of sold-out performances at a local rock club. Not only that, but a record promoter is interested in signing them to a major label. Lucky for them that Nola (Shepis), an accomplished blues-rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, shows up for an audition; little does anyone know she’s on the run from a violence-prone small-time drug dealing boyfriend." Sounds kinda intriguing, and we're fans of Shepis, so were pretty much sold there. But what the synopsis inexplicably fails to mention is that this 2002 film is actually not-so-softcore porn, rather more explicit that most cable, but still shorn of dangly (or not-so-dangly) bits. I think I got the hint after Nola's boyfriend and his latest pick-up had, loud, noisy, entirely nekkid sex on top of a convertible in a parking lot. Man, why does that never happen in our neighbourhood? This set a tone for the film, where you could set your watch, every 10 minutes, by the guy and girl staring warmly into each other's eyes, and the music settling down for the long haul.
This was a bit problematic because we know Tiffany. She's going to be at our horror film festival this weekend for the third tiem. I've chugged PBR alongside her. So, seeing this was... I dunno, like watching your cousin do porn or something. Just not right. Even though Ms. Shepis was only involved in one of the eight (count approximate), I still found myself fast-forwarding through the sex scenes to get to the plot, which must be a first in the annals of my viewing history. In the roughly forty minutes remaining, the plot consists of a) Nola's new boyfriend, a local deputy, discovering she's wanted for armed robbery back in Texas; b) Nola's old boyfriend showing up and hassling her, c) Nola's new boyfriend discovering she was an innoncent bystander and punching her old boyfriend in the nose. Oh, yeah, and d) a sleazy record company exec trying to convince Nola to go solo so he can sign her, because his record company isn't interested in all-girl bands.
And, on the basis of the performances you see here, you'll understand why. It's mostly the fault of the songs, which are less rock then instantly-forgettable, lame pop, with no hook and whiny lyrics. In reality, the Vinyl Dolls would be less courted by record labels, than relegated to permanent curtain-jerker status, where the loudest cheers are reserved for the evergreen support-band classic, "This is our last song." That said, the band members in general, and Shepis in particular, do a good job of faking it, which helps paper over the cracks a bit. However, the title is clearly drawing a comparison with Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and in just about most areas, save for the explicitness of the nudity (which I have to admit, even on FF, was kinda hot!), it's not one which flatters the Vinyl incarnation.