Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It didn’t think it could happen, but it looks as if after years of being at the top of my list as my most glorious guilty pleasure, ‘Demolition Man’ might finally be dethroned. The stupid motorcycle flick ‘Torque’ challenged Wes, Sly and Sandra for the top spot, but ‘Demolition Man’ was bigger and dumber and ultimately much more stupendous. Now comes my introduction to Indian filmmaker Jag Mundhra with his eroto-thriller ‘Natasha’, a movie that is completely worthless yet filled with so much cheesy goodness that it is damn near irresistible.

Our most glorious film opens in St. Petersburg Russia where Anna (Algina Lipskis) is awoken out of her beautiful slumber by a very rude alarm clock and her good spirited young cousin Natasha (Christina Chirila). Though Anna is clothed it is a fairly obvious by her sexy sleeping attire that she has quite the traffic stopping little figure, and not knowing exactly what kind of movie this is I was sitting in my chair wondering if she was going get all nuded up at anytime during this film. As if to put my troubled mind at ease, director Mundhra immediately dispatches his young ingénue to the shower to wash her dirty ass. Outstanding! But this nudity is not gratuitous my friends as we get a shot of Anna’s butterfly tattoo on her right butt cheek which is fairly critical to the plot development of this film. I kid you not. Regardless, the brainy Natasha is on her way to a small town in England to study abroad and is staying with her beloved cousin for a couple days while she prepares for her trip. Anna is very proud of the girl but alas there is a strip club that she headlines, unbeknownst to Natasha, that she has to report to.

At the club Anna does her set then goes to talk her boyfriend and club manager and while giving the man a little under the desk lovin’, he gets a visit from his boss, the likely named Victor (Ivan Marevich). Turns out this dude was stealing from Victor and catches one in the forehead for his lapse in judgment while Anna was hiding under the desk.

Eventually Victor and his thugs discover Anna was a witness to the murder and make haste to her apartment to silence the sexy minx, unfortunately as Natasha looks through the keyhole, ala ‘Sharky’s Machine’, she catches one in the orbital socket thus ending her dreams for a future. I seriously thought that ‘Sharky’s Machine’ pretty much closed the book on the whole through the peephole bullet in the eye, changing one’s identity thing, but I would be wrong yet again. Anyway, though distraught over the death of her beloved cousin, Anna assumes Natasha’s identity and is off to New Haven England to save her own life.

Now safely in England, at least for a little while, ‘Natasha’ moves in with Pastor Loomis (Richard Lintern) and his family including his repressed wife Jan (Serena Gordon), hormone enraged son Robbie (Joseph O’Malley) and his older sister the sexually confused Christine (Jenna Harrison). This little uptight town is nowhere near ready for the force of nature they know as Natasha who just sets a fire wherever she goes, opening up a world of possibilities. Eventually Petra (Sheyla Shehovich), a tough as nails St. Petersburg cop will track her down which means that Victor and his gang of murdering thugs can’t be far behind, which will leave Anna / Natasha with some tough decisions to make regarding saving her life or saving the life of the new family she’s come to love.

Now we here at the FCU fully recognize that the DNA strand that separates ‘Natasha’ from your regular run-of-the-mill Skinemax Saturday night special is negligible. The story is fairly unoriginal, the look and feel is exactly like that of those Skinemax soft core features with its unimaginative and flat lighting, some of the dialog was laughably bad and oh lord the music… the score is constant, loud, overpowering, irritating and if someone in another room were to hear one phrase, they would know in an instant that you were watching some lame softcore Skinemax style porno.

But seriously speaking though, the thing that sets ‘Natasha’ apart from those other kinds of movies is that the actors in this thing bring a lot of energy to their characters and really bring them to life. Sure Algina Lipskis spends a good portion of the movie naked, and when she does wear clothes she dresses like a tramp, but I gotta hand it to the girl because she has a definite charm and a sweet innocence to her, which even comes through when she’s swinging on a pole in her underwear. All of the actors seemed keenly aware that this wasn’t ‘The Tempest’ that they were in and genuinely seemed to be having a good time with this movie, campy as it was, but they did play it as straight as possible. We particularly liked Ivan Marevich who is certainly one of the more charming and vile movie villains to come along in a quite a while.

Mr. Muhdhra directs his epic with gusto and keeps things moving at rapid pace, and he also never lets the movie stray too far from its roots as there is plenty of nudity, a cute little lesbian scene, lots of girls taking showers, and lots of strippers hanging out backstage being naked and stuff.

I know ‘Natasha’ isn’t like a ‘good movie’ in the classic sense and I would have really preferred not to like as much as I did, but this is why we call them ‘Guilty Pleasures’. Jag Mundhra, you are my new hero as it is time for to familiarize myself with your past and future work. Believe me when I tell you that knocking ‘Demolition Man’ off the top spot is no small feat.

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