The film itself takes place in the early 1930s, soon after sound has hit the movies and the resultant industry fallout is still being felt. One of the talkies' casualties is a young superstar director known only as Boy Wonder (Dreyfuss), an artiste of silent cinema who refused to compromise his vision for Hollywood's bean counters. Reduced to an impotent, disillusioned alcoholic afraid to leave his mansion--which itself will soon be paved over to make way for a freeway--the Boy Wonder now plies his trade shooting no-budget stag films financed by low-rent producer Big Mac (Hoskins). Aiding and abetting him are lead actress Harlene, a living kewpie doll played by a surprising (and surprisingly sexy) Veronica Cartwright, and a dense leading man referred to disparagingly as Rex, the Wonder Dog (Stephen Davies). Rounding out the quintet is Big Mac's "maybe fiancee," one Miss Cake, an aspiring actress (Jessica Harper) who may or may not be as clueless as she seems.
While stopping short of explicit sex, Inserts contains enough raunchy language and abundant nudity to offend the squeamish and delight the prurient. From today's perspective such rawness is hard to fathom given the rising profiles of actresses Veronica Cartwright--who would later appear in Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers--and Jessica Harper, the future star of Phantom of the Paradis, Suspiria, and Stardust Memories (among others). By virtue of its era, setting, and the sexual power games at hand, the film may appear blatantly misogynistic to some. But like the elusive Miss Cake, there's more here than meets the eye.
|The Boy Wonder at work|
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