Hello again, Brothers and Sisters of the Psychotronic Video World! We’ve got another screener tonight, the stunningly-titled NIPPLES & PALM TREES. Wes was particularly interested in hearing what I thought of it, so let’s dive right in without any further ado. Brothers and Sisters, let’s get this on.
Meet Jackson (screenwriter Matthew James), a scruffy Los Angeles local who has the misfortune of being stuck in a miserable, dead-end job in a call center. For fun, he does a number of things — he paints sexually-explicit portraits, he goes to sleazy Asian jack-off parlors, smokes pot, bangs a truly staggering number of women who are extremely flexible both morally and physically. Jackson is a sex addict, kiddos.
When Jackson’s girlfriend Harmony, an emotionally-and-sexually abused gal with raccoon-eye makeup, decides she wants to end the relationship, Jackson takes it surprisingly…not well. Following her exit, Jackson goes on a deep, soul-searching, almost shamanistic quest for understanding and…I’m sorry, Brothers and Sisters, I can’t bullshit ya like that. He goes off on a string of increasingly meaningless and bizarre sexual encounters hoping that will fill the emptiness inside him.
I’m sorry, readers, I just wasn’t wow’d by this film. In fact, I was markedly underwhelmed by this film. There’s no real plot that I can discern beyond “Jackson likes to get laid.” Characters are never fleshed out beyond the most basic, broadest strokes. Harmony’s history of incestuous sexual abuse is mentioned briefly and never as more than a throwaway line that, in all honesty, is presented for a cheap laugh.
Throughout the film, all I could think was, “this was written so that the screenwriter/lead actor could roll around with naked women.” And in fulfillment of that goal, NIPPLES & PALM TREES succeeds admirably. But all this could be accomplished — in fact, all that the film accomplishes — could have been done much better as a 15-20 minute short film. In such a format it certainly would not wear out its welcome quite as the feature-length version did.
Additionally, there’s a lot of oddly questionable choices made during the editing process — for example, the title card does not appear until a full 20 minutes into the film. It seems like the people behind the camera were experimenting with color filters as they went just to see what they’d do. At times, especially early in the film, we get a number of really abrupt scene shifts and jumps that are disorienting — and if they’ve been done as a conscious, artistic choice, I’m not sure what they’re supposed to be saying.
All in all, readers, unless you’re really into stimulated sex scenes, I’m gonna say give this one a pass.