Gorgeous, yet spiteful, blonde teenager Angela (Gloria Guida) is vexed when her father Doctor Batrucchi (Silvano Tranquilli) returns home with his lovely, new bride-to-be Irene (Dagmar Lassander). Aided by her sleazy boyfriend Sandro (Fred Robsham), Angela digs into Irene’s past and discovers a history of psychological problems. Irene was traumatised by a failed lesbian love affair and after years of counselling, has latched onto kindly Doctor Batrucchi as a means of preserving her sanity. Angela seduces Irene, planning to blackmail and humiliate her, but unexpectedly begins falling for the sweet, gentle soul. Tragedy beckons when Sandro intervenes, pushing Irene over the edge.
So Young, So Lovely, So Vicious (love that title!) is a strange, schizophrenic movie. On the one hand it’s a soft-core sexploitation picture, on the other it’s a heartfelt psychological melodrama with some surprisingly affecting scenes. The sleaze quotient probably counts against it as serious drama, but exploitation fans craving titillation will relish Euro-goddesses Dagmar Lassander and Gloria Guida copulating in artfully arranged poses. What lifts this above ordinary sex films is Dagmar Lassander as Irene, a deeply sympathetic, tragic heroine whose sole desire is to make friends and reconnect with normal life. There is a sublime scene where Angela introduces Irene to Sandro and his boorish buddies. Irene saunters out in a gossamer dress, sits down and begins playing a mandolin. Her grace and gentility slowly mesmerize the young thugs, as they sit in silent awe. It’s surreal, silly, moving and magical all at once. A scene you could only find in Euro-cult cinema.
The heartrending indignities Irene suffers keep the movie compelling from start to finish. Its melancholy air survives Roberto Pregadio’s cheesy Euro-pop score, and the slightly silly dune-buggy chase climax. However, the tragic ending is somewhat undermined when it becomes obvious that Gloria Guida, while meant to be grief-stricken, has clearly succumbed to the giggles.