Winston Churchill’s quip about every democracy getting the leadership it deserves has been brought up almost mournfully over the last eight years, but it also serves as a prurient setup to the flaccid punchline that is Linda Lovelace for President. A live-action approximation of what it might be like if you crossed a political satire from Hustler with a movie parody right out of Mad Magazine (with a little bit of “Spy vs. Spy” inexplicably thrown in for about half a reel), on the surface Linda Lovelace makes Deep Throat look almost as sophisticated as the bored swingers of the early 1970s apparently convinced themselves it actually was.
In the film, delegates from every marginalized demographic in the nation have spent the better part of four months fighting over a dark horse candidate. Eventually they come to the conclusion that the only people who could turn out the vote (or turn on the vote…seriously, folks, that’s about the level most of the jokes in this one are aimed) as a third-party outsider are Jesus Christ and Linda Lovelace. Before you can say “cock us,” Linda herself hops aboard a bus with a handful of lame stereotypes (militant negro, bull dyke, limp-wristed fag, ironing Chinaman, neo Nazi, so on and so forth) and takes her ample campaign out to the countryside, visiting the pool halls and hillbilly compounds the two major party candidates can’t be bothered to drop by.
As much a product of its time as any movie I’ve ever seen, Linda Lovelace is the comedy equivalent of a boner-kill, excepting the few jokes that are so far beyond the pale of modern-day political correctness as to merit laughs of astonishment. (A dirty old man gets spit in the face by a six-year-old Girl Scout and mutters, “Never trust a dyke.”) Still, if you look beyond the umpteen cheeky references to cumming, there is an undoubtedly accidental kernel of political truth rattling around in the midst of this train wreck. Namely this: Linda ultimately wins the election not because she rounds up support from the forgotten, dismissed demographics. Nope, just before voting day, she makes a crucial stop at a revivalist tent and beds, literally and figuratively, that old time religion. In its embodiment of the lowest common denominator, Linda Lovelace is just the sort of political “satire” America (c. 2000-2008, and may it soon rest in peace) deserves.
The transfer is fine, other than some noticeable print damage and cigarette burns, but it has the side effect of showing just how shoddy the cinematography is. Master shots out of focus, hotel hallways lit only as far back as the main action before fading into total blackness, clueless color balance. Production-wise, Linda Lovelace for President looks like either the worst B-movie ever, or the glossiest Z-movie. One thing's for sure, it's probably the tamest X-movie.
Color me disappointed that they didn't include a trailer. I, for one, was looking forward to seeing just how they tried to sell a movie like this (especially on the eve of the country's bicentennial). Instead, we get a nine-minute "oral history" (snort, chuckle) of the film's production from executive producer Arthur Marks. It's a pathetic, haphazard history, but at least Marks gets a few digs in at Linda Lovelace for being allegedly unprofessional and (in his opinion) not particularly good-looking. Sounds like someone got left with blue balls on the casting couch.
I trust Linda Lovelace for President more than I trust at least 50 percent of the voters in the U.S.