Different Strokes: The Story Of Jack And Jill…And Jill (1997)

Thank you at least, British VHS distributors

Thank you at least, British VHS distributors

I appreciate none of you are quite as interested in this stuff as I am, but this represents a coming together of two strands of bad movie history. Representing Donald Farmer, who brought her into the world of ultra-cheap and ultra-poor erotic thrillers with “Compelling Evidence”, is Dana Plato; and directing this movie is Michael Paul Girard, whose previous work we’ve covered with “Oversexed Rugsuckers From Mars” and “Getting Lucky”.


We’ve already talked about Plato’s sad life story in our “Compelling Evidence” review, but this was a couple of years further on, and it seems she was still as decent as she ever was – in other words, a reasonably competent sitcom actress who was completely out of practice. No sign of the problems that were apparently ravaging her at the time. Here, she’s Jill, a fashion mogul of some sort who’s coming to LA to get a series of shots done by Jack (Bentley “grandson of Robert” Mitchum), a famous photographer. He has a girlfriend, also called Jill (softcore star Landon Hall), Plato is a lesbian and zeroes in on Hall, they get involved, erotic shenanigans!


That’s really all the plot you need. Or are given, for that matter. Where to start? Firstly, Jill’s pursuit of Jill just seems like a male fantasy of what these things are like, and so much of it is so abominably written and acted that it feels slightly sordid to be watching it. The stench of exploitation (of Plato’s fame for the title of the movie, for using a woman whose problems were common knowledge) is very strong. Girard went from a guy who was prepared to live in a van so he could afford to shoot his movies, to the worst sleaziest hack who was prepared to write and direct an erotic thriller starring a walking billboard for the problems with the use of child actors, in the space of a decade.


But then, why am I reviewing it? Literally the only reason anyone would find this movie today is because of its car-crash aspect, with a slight exception to someone who for reasons unknown was watching every Girard movie (we stopped at two, before this, because that second one was just beyond terrible). Honestly, that’s part of the reason I put it on too, so if you’re at all interested in the by-products of the sleazier, more dead-eyed side of Hollywood, then nothing I say is going to change your mind.


In terms of “sleazy”, I don’t even really mean the subject matter of the movie. Lots of perfectly fine ones have sex in them, and nudity, and lots of actresses who previously worked in sitcoms have done them. While they’re not usually my cup of tea, the erotic thriller is a broad church containing both great and awful work. I mean sleazy in the sense of exploitation – like this would have utterly disappeared forever without the presence of Plato, and the money that it made is more poorly earned. Perhaps I’m being over the top, and I am literally part of the problem, as at least some people reading this would have never heard of this piece of garbage without this review.


So, to sum up, a thoroughly wretched movie which most definitely doesn’t even work on its own pathetically low level, and one for which I hope someone involved in the production felt some shame about. Ha, what am I talking about? This is the same industry which made “Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave”, which not only doesn’t have Bruce Lee in it (him being dead and all) but isn’t even about Bruce Lee! And that’s what I feel about “Different Strokes: Jack And Jill…And Jill”.


Rating: thumbs down and buried in the producer’s eyeball


6 thoughts on “Different Strokes: The Story Of Jack And Jill…And Jill (1997)

  1. Pingback: Compelling Evidence (1995) |

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  4. Pingback: Zombi 3 (1988) (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters 2) |

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