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'Gold Diggers': This Greed is Not Good

By Jen Chaney
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, September 17, 2004; Page WE46

Just how repellent is "National Lampoon's Gold Diggers"? So stupefyingly hideous that after watching it, you'll need to bathe in 10 gallons of disinfectant, get a full-body scrub and shampoo with vinegar to remove the scummy residue that remains. Some movies leave a bad taste in the mouth. This one causes full-on halitosis.

Will Friedle (formerly of TV's "Boy Meets World") and Chris Owen (who played the dork who lies about losing his virginity in "American Pie") star as a pair of penniless and parentless criminals desperate for cash. During one of their ill-conceived schemes, they hold up a pair of senior-citizen sisters at gunpoint while dressed as a rabbi and a nun. (Can you smell the comedy yet?) Coincidentally, the victims of the crime (Louise Lasser and Renee Taylor) are equally desperate for money because their crazy uncle is hoarding the inheritance from their father's lucrative condom business. The ladies decide to break the boys out of jail so they can marry them, murder them and collect on their insurance policies. You know, because all moronic, broke orphans are organized enough to have life insurance. Meanwhile, the boys figure it's only a matter of time before the geezer gals drop dead, allowing them to cash in on the inheritance they assume will be theirs.

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It's hard to say what's most offensive about "Gold Diggers." Is it the tastelessness of seeing Lasser -- that's "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" to you -- and Taylor flaunting their aging bodies for cheap laughs? That's certainly a major factor. These sisters, who engage in randy stripteases and eat mounds of whipped cream off of their much-younger lovers' bodies, are so vile and uninteresting that they make Patty and Selma of "The Simpsons" look like the twins from the Coors beer commercials. But what's even more egregious about this alleged comedy is the fact that it was released in theaters at all. Clearly this should have been a straight-to-DVD affair. Then again, that's unfair to the many mediocre movies released solely on DVD. Even they don't deserve to be lumped in with this sub-sub-sub-par waste of 87 minutes' worth of celluloid.

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S GOLD DIGGERS (PG-13, 87 minutes) --Contains crude and sexual humor, some drug-related material and dialogue that will reduce a viewer's IQ by at least 40 points.

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