“All I want in this life of mine is some good clean fun.” – Little Feat, “Fat Man in the Bathtub”
Country Girl Pizza is the home base for Bob Chinn’s Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls, a freewheeling, deep-dish slice of gooey, west coast goodness from 1978. Set in a screwy and oversexed heightened reality, screenwriter (and one-time milkman) John Chapman, working from an idea from Chinn’s then-girlfriend, Deanna, flips the genders on the hoariest of chestnuts regarding lucky service workers and the bored and libidinous folks they encounter when making their house calls.
And at Country Girl Pizza, the delivery gals (Desiree Cousteau, Christine DeShaffer, Candida Royalle, and Laurien Dominique) deliver more than just pizza as each order comes with its own special code that corresponds with some kind of sexual act that ranges from plain Jane oral pleasuring to full-on threesomes. As they are unwittingly profiled and harassed by a cabal of male fried chicken franchisees (Paul Thomas, Richard Pacheco, and Spender Travis) who aim to take them and their pizza business down, the girls are also being stalked from behind bushes and in alleyways by the mysterious Inspector Blackie (John Seeman), a shadowy figure who is forever reporting the girls’ every move back to headquarters.
Aside from the fact that he should not have ever been close to a pizza cutter because no sane person wants their slices made in the shape he invents while using one onscreen, John Holmes is a whole lot of fun in Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls. Loose, relaxed, and genuinely funny, he gets two choice sex scenes, one with Cousteau and the other with Royalle and DeSchaffer which is a threesome upon which dreams are made; but he truly feels like a good-natured supporting wheel more in the style of his turn in Hard Soap, Hard Soap, than cock-of-the-walk centerpiece. And as John and Bob, restauranteurs with a secret and righteous agenda to battle against the anti-capitalist and assaultive San Francisco Night Chicken, Holmes and director Bob Chinn, respectively, display a really fun chemistry. And, though Chinn isn’t a fan of his own cameo appearances and sells his own screen presence short, he seems like he’s having a grand ol’ time and, not for nothing, but it takes a certain amount of skill to deliver the line “I just don’t wanna get fucked by no chicken” with the right attitude and still get the laugh you’re going for. So mission accomplished there.
Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls is one of Chinn’s many home runs where the action is mostly centered around a core group of randy, tight-knit, take-action gals who may have tiny internal squabbles but otherwise have each other’s back all the way down the line. This film may be set in cartoonland where the logic of how everything works is a bit fuzzy and the roles may be played broadly but how else would you play this kind of material and make it work? The camaraderie between the girls is absolutely top notch and each one inhabits an actual, distinguishable character which is nicely established early in a backroom chat between the four of them. Desiree Cousteau dials down the Dumb Dora routine that she played to the max in her star-making turn in Alex DeRenzy’s Pretty Peaches and has a ball as Ann Chovie, a bubbly bumpkin from Alabama; Christine DeSchaffer finds just the right note as exasperated and overworked, frizzy and frazzled Celeste; Candida Royalle’s “G’head” tough-chick, Gino, is just sassy perfection; and Laurien Dominique’s Shakey is the softest and sweetest ingredient added to the mix.
One of the strengths to the film is that its interiors were shot in real locations, including a furnished home used as the meeting hub of the dastardly Fried Chicken Gang (and other interiors) and the actual pizza parlor. As to the latter, used in the wee early hours before its doors opened for actual business, shooting in an authentic, functioning pizzeria lets the film play in a real, recognizable world that is also pretty nostalgic for those who grew up in a world when going out to eat to a pizza joint with the family or friends was an exciting prospect. And I don’t know if it was a coincidence or it was just canny wardrobe choices but Chinn and Holmes lend to the pizzeria authenticity by wearing matching shirts that look like they were made out of the tablecloths that Pizza Hut had around the same time. But woe to the parents who let their kids ride on this specific Shakey’s coin-operated rocking horse as they were no doubt completely unaware that its best, though likely uncomfortable, utilization had already been mastered by Holmes and Cousteau.
And what begins on that machine-operated, bouncy romp is a smorgasbord of great sex scenes; nine in number with zero wasted, all of them perfectly balanced between humorous and hot. Cousteau really pops in the film and her two scenes, one with Holmes and the other with Seeman, are incredible. With an absolutely adorable and spunky personality and an ass that worked overtime, it would be hard to argue for a lack of understanding as to why Desiree Cousteau was a superstar. Though seemingly buried in the mix of cast members, DeShaffer does a lot of heavy lifting as she works in a funny, recurring bit with Vicky Lindsay, participates the aforementioned threesome with Royalle and Holmes, and mixes it up with Paul Thomas in a scene with an anal capper. While not given much in terms of a character, Dominique turns up the heat in her own threesome with Thomas and Davis. And though the pairing of Royalle and Pacheco had to be cheated (thanks a lot, loudmouth production manager who sapped Pacheco’s concentration), it’s hard to dislike watching them crack each other up with their silly cowboy banter while faking it, the scene smartly cross-cut with Cousteau’s humorous reciprocal oral encounter with Carl Regal. And just for some tasteful cheesecake value, Chinn pads each delivery with some wonderful footage of all the actresses riding up and down the San Francisco sidewalks on their skateboards, their outfits helping to accentuate the ripple found in the in-fashion voluptuousness of the late 70’s.
Dick Aldrich, weary of Armand Atamaian’s miserly ways at Freeway Films, put together a deal to produce Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls for his Tehana Timpson Releasing. This caused him to find funding that came with mob strings which created a pretty familiar scenario for Bob Chinn who had made Candy Stripers earlier in the same year which also had similar type connections (albeit the two films were underwritten by DIFFERENT mob organizations as they, too, believe in a competitive marketplace). Shot with a clean and uncomplicated style by Charles Rudnick, the film is also snappily edited by Joe Sherman who would graduate to direct the hilarious but all-but-doomed Ms. Maginificent (aka Superwoman) for Aldrich the following year. Toni Diamani, only loosely connected to the production by being the girlfriend of one of the film’s financiers, gets a producer credit and pops up in a cameo as one of the two patrons who flirt with John and Bob in the pizza parlor.
Though I actually did deliver pizzas during my early college years (and it goes without saying that the film makes that gig look way more fun and adventurous than it actually is), Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls occupies a very special place in my heart as it was the very first hardcore film I ever saw. Having it in my possession also drew my first porn bust from my parents, a formative benchmark for many a teenager. My grandfather, a retired man of leisure and low-key adventure who spent his twilight years traveling up and down Interstate 35 in a deluxe motor home with his well-to-do girlfriend, generously took it off my hands. While he no doubt gave it a good home, my heart was broken over having to dispose of it.
Maybe even more so than the raucous, ribald, and most excellent Candy Stripers (and that’s a BIG maybe), Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls is bronzed in a sunny crispness that, forty-five years later, still feels as fresh as a daisy and as guiltlessly irresistible as cotton candy. Festooned with skateboarding, tennis shoe poms, halter tops, short shorts, hot sex, pizza, and a super light, kinda-crime caper sprinkled over the whole affair, it is a transportive journey to the best weekend party 1978 had to offer and one can almost feel the warm California breeze radiating from the screen as it rolls out over its 71 minute running time. Though shot in April, it exudes a heavy summertime vibe and playful atmosphere and, boy howdy, does it ever sparkle and shine. Funny and goofy with a sense of humor that is both corny and horny, only Christian Nationalists, puritanical squares, and people who hate puppies could actively root against Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls. And, honestly, who gives a flying fuck what those people think?
(C) Copyright 2023, Patrick Crain