SUBURBANROULETTE (director/writer: Hershell Gordon Lewis; screenwriter: James Thomas; cinematographer: Roy Collodi; editor: Robert Flaxman; cast: Elizabeth Wilkinson (Ilene Fisher), Ben Moore (Bert Fisher), Tony McCabe (Ron Elston), Ione Rolnick (Fran Conley), Thomas Wood (Marty Conley), Vicki Miles (Margo Elston), Debby Grant (Cindy Fisher), Ray Woods (Police Chief); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hershell Gordon Lewis; Sinister Cinema; 1967)
“This exploitation film stinks to high heaven.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Cult low-budget filmmaker Hershell Gordon Lewis (“Blast Off!”/”The Pill”/”Something Weird”), a mediocre filmmaker, directs this exploitation film of no redeeming social value and almost no worth as entertainment, involving wife-swapping in the ‘burbs. It comes with a prudish moralistic message (fooling around always leads to bad consequences), stilted dialogue, awful acting and a lousy story If one can handle the theme song with the same title as the pic and risible lyrics such as “Let’s swap partners/Here’s the game/Suburban roulette,” then one should be able to handle this third-rate lurid tale without puking.
The Fishers, promiscuous wife Ilene (Elizabeth Wilkinson), alcoholic hubby Bert (Ben Moore) and sullen adolescent daughter Cindy (Debby Grant), move from the city to the suburbs hoping to straighten out their loveless marriage. Invited by their neighbors, the Conleys, Marty (Thomas Wood) and Fran (Ione Rolnick), for dinner, Ilene gets hit upon by the hubby of a third couple present, the oily rich manufacturer Ron Elston (Tony McCabe), and they screw. Meanwhile Ron’s cynical wife Margo (Vicki Miles) gets it on with the frustrated Marty, while pathetic Bert gets drunk with the self-hating lush Fran. We follow the Fisher’s adjustment to the swinging suburban scene for a year, which becomes a regular Saturday evening scene. It climaxes with Ilene taking an overdose of sleeping pills when Ron doesn’t want a divorce but just wants to continue having fun wife-swapping. Ilene recovers from her broken heart and the Fishers drop out of the “suburban roulette” game in order to try and save their marriage, while the other two couples hope to recruit another couple into their scene.
This exploitation film stinks to high heaven.
REVIEWED ON 7/26/2010 GRADE: D
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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