National Lampoon’s Golddiggers

Movie Information

Genre: Purported Comedy
Director: Gary Preisler
Starring: Will Friedle, Chris Owen, Louise Lasser, Renee Taylor
Rated: PG-13

If ever a movie deserved the half-star rating, it’s this one. But this …thing is just so incredibly bad and astoundingly wrong-headed that it gets at least a one-star rating for its uncanny ability to make the viewer stare at the screen in glassy-eyed, open-mouthed wonderment. First-time director Gary Preisler has a few writing and producing credits on movies I’ve never heard of, but exhibits no signs of ever having been within miles of a movie camera, to judge by this steaming example of filmmaking straight out of the Ed Wood school.

National Lampoon’s Golddiggers has been gathering dust for so long that its original title, Lady Killers, had to be scrapped for obvious reasons. While some things do improve with age — wine, or cheese — this film, despite its clear relation to the latter, ain’t one of ’em. Golddiggers comes more under that charming backwoods assessment of something that’s been sitting so long that it’s become “molded and haired over.”

Not that this thing could ever have been any good. Golddiggers stars two young comics, Will Friedle and Chris Owen. One appears to be from a TV show called Boy Meets World, and the other has some degree of fame as a character who wet himself in an American Pie movie (which now may be the pinnacle of his career). The two play incredibly stupid and thoroughly unlikable characters who decide to marry a pair of aging sisters, heiresses to the Mundt Condom fortune. The sisters are played by Louise Lasser and Renee Taylor, who must be in debt up to their eyeballs if they agreed to sign for this movie (though I admit that Lasser comes across as goofily sweet, and both women appear to be having a pretty good time embarrassing themselves).

Unbeknownst to our heroes, the girls don’t actually have any money (it’s been pilfered by their crazy uncle, played by Rudy DeLuca) and have schemed to marry the boys in order to insure them, and then off them for the money. The idea is that much amusement will follow. In its stead, we get a series of painfully unfunny gags involving the deaths of innocent bystanders who get the poison, snake-bite, etc., and some even more painfully unfunny sex gags involving 20-something guys and kinky 60-70-something women.

If you really want to see veteran comedienne Louise Lasser cover Owen with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, crushed nuts and bananas, and then eat the mess off him, this is your movie. If that’s not enough to sell you, there’s always Renee Taylor doing the dominatrix shtick on Friedle to the strains of “My Boy, Lollipop.” To make matters even worse, the script takes a weird — well, weirder — turn still, opting to have Owen actually fall for Lasser. Apparently, someone thought they were in Harold and Maude territory. They thought wrong. This is strictly the stuff for people in search of cinematic two-headed cows.

— reviewed by Ken Hanke

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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