A sort of film about a discotheque by people who clearly had never been to one. Add the long strain of westerns and war films by people who never experienced either and well, this is probably a normal approach to fiction, it just winds up providing some grand inadvertent laughs.

This film features Donna Summers and one of her hits that gets hummed, and played a couple of times, and also, finally sung by her at least once. It’s not the great electronica “Love to Love You Baby” (which really got endless rotation when I was a lad) but instead “Last Chance” which, isn’t one of the greats, but it qualifies. Also headlining the film are The Commodores who also do a bit of acting and lip sync one tune after waiting a long time for their comic van driver (one little cargo van with loose drums and guitars) who is very late and has to keep showing cops he’s a musician by hauling out the gear and playing all of it.

At the Discotheque a dance competition is meant to take place, winner gets a couple hundred bucks. But when you look around this disco you are not greeted with much in the way of dancing. Most of the actors just push hands back and forth in time underneath stuffed polar bears, and other weird decor. It looks more like a Star Trek cantina set than anything like throbbing and darkened discotheques.

The story revolves around a small set of characters, some trying to get into the gig featuring Terri Nunn who does a remarkable proto-Erin Page. Some are there by persuasion, Debra Winger, who mopes about under-dressed, and some are there for romance, including a computer-dating meet-up played by a short husky character with an NYC accent and a quite tall and lanky lady who end up upsetting each other until she clocks him and then he’s in love. There are a pair of nerdy guys hoping to score, but get locked out of the building just as the best deal of his life was about to go down! Most of the film is spent in the periphery of dance, we aren’t really shown much of the feature, and I suppose that’s by design. Jeff Goldblum is the obnoxious club owner and he is approached by woman after woman (lucky guy) but seems to fall for a Lady Di looking straight-laced twit who twisted her husband’s arm to go and now that he was having drunken fun with a floozy, is looking to possibly even the score.

Am I missing anything? Not really. Most of these little interactions are of the Laugh-In variety and really fail to generate much humor. I half expected to see Ruth Buzzi or Artie Johnson shimmy by in the background. A non-dancing kid is mentored by a leather and cow-boy hat wearing hispanic man, there is something of a “Singing in the Rain” moment as this Hispanic man jumps about on a bunch of car hoods finally going through a convertible. In the end he proclaims powerfully, that all there is is dancing, everything else is bullshit!

This little tidbit of late 70s folly, looks wrong, is wrong (why’s there a guy in a gorilla costume??) and is only interesting for having Donna and The Commodores. There’s nothing at all sexy going on, sadly, I mean what the hell was disco for anyway?

But it is Free!

One thought on “Thank God It’s Friday (1978)

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