The film is set in the future. 1994. In Menachem's script, nothing much has changed in the fourteen years other than everything has become more. More glitter, more debauchery and more lame. The government has been taken over by an entertainment guru who controls the masses with the opium of disco and the promise of more disco. He is Mr. Boogalow and his sidekick, a tall black man who makes Ru Paul look like Dick Butkus, rule with an iron fist.
When our heroes, Alfie and Bibi (pronounced Bib-EE) have the nerve to sing a folk love song to the gathered audience that somehow are metered to gauge crowd excitement, Boogalow and his minions jump into action. They try to sign the couple to a huge record deal but only Bibi is seduced by the lure of fame and wealth. Poor Alfie, with pants spray-painted on him, roams the desolate city searching for his Bibi and tries to remain true to his folk spirit. In fact, much of the film focuses on his pants and we're all the better for it.
Alfie crashes a party at Boogalow's and everyone seems to be drinking red liquid out of tumblers that could easily hold two liters of Coca-Cola. Alfie drinks some green stuff and boy, the lights get brighter and the images more fractured. He finds his Bibi in the arms of an Andy Gibb-type guy and Alfie runs like the wind. Back to his mom, a character that goes far above and beyond the Jewish mother stereotype, and she feeds him chicken soup.
Gaining enough strength to face the world again, he wanders around but is arrested for not wearing his "Bim," a shiny triangle the entire population is now required to wear on their foreheads at all times. He gets a Bim ticket and meets an elderly man who leads him to some "hippies from the sixties." Their a rag-tag team of beads and paisley but Alfie feels right at home.
Meanwhile Bibi is sick of the life as a star and runs away to find Alfie. She stumbles to his apartment where Alfie's mother tells her Alfie is meshugena. She directs Bibi to under a bridge where the hippies now live in a cavern. Once she sees Alfie, everything is okay until the police and Boogalow with his sidekick try to have her arrested for breach of contract.
In the final two minutes of the film, certainly the shortest third act ever created, Mr. Thom comes driving down from the skies in a golden Bentley. He confronts Boogalow and tells him that he will save his children from the evils Boogalow has created. The flock follow Mr. Thom up to the sky and drive away. The end.
The film is without irony and it's heavy-handed in its message but it didn't take itself seriously enough to elevate it to Showgirls status. It is, however, a treasure and highly recommended for anyone who appreciates misbegotten filmmaking. Its ultimate lesson, I suppose, is artifice can only be conquered with a gold Bentley.
It was great hanging out with Sean and Vinny, and meeting some of their friends. As I was driving home, I thought of the time while I was an agent at CAA, deep into my cocaine addiction and I sold a front page story to the Enquirer on one of our clients for the money needed to feed the monkey. But that is a story for another day.