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  Rita, Sue and Bob Too Sex Mad
Year: 1986
Director: Alan Clarke
Stars: Michelle Holmes, Siobhan Finneran, George Costigan, Lesley Sharp, Kulvinder Ghir, Willie Ross, Danny O'Dea, Patti Nichols, Jane Atkinson, Brian Heeley, Bernard Wrigley, Nancy Pute, Joanna Steele, Joanne Barrow, Marie Jelliman, Dennis Conlon, Paul Hedges
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Rita (Siobhan Finneran) and her best friend Sue (Michelle Holmes) live on an estate in Bradford, and are just about to leave school in a few months. To get a bit of extra cash, they babysit for the nouveau-riche couple Bob (George Costigan) and his wife Michelle (Lesley Sharp) when they go out of an evening, but one night when Bob is driving the girls home he offers to take them on a tour of the Yorkshire moors nearby. They agree, and when he parks his car in a secluded area, the talk turns to sex, with him asking them whether they are virgins. If they are, they won't be for much longer...

Rita, Sue and Bob Too was one of the most memorable productions to come out of Channel Four's film division, and was repeated so often on that channel that it became oddly comforting to see it continually pop up in the schedules, nice to know it was still there and entertaining (or shocking) viewers years after its first appearance. The brains behind it were two talents who both sadly died within months of each other a short while after it was released, highly respected director Alan Clarke and playwright Andrea Dunbar, who adapted two of her works for this and was still only in her twenties at the time.

The tone is best described as "raunchy" without actually being much of a turn on, in fact there's a distinct cynicism about matters sexual which veers between all a bit of fun to everyone's eventual downfall, should you fall prey to the caprices of your lust. So it is with the title characters, whose threesome in Bob's car is born out of his frustration with Michelle's declining interest in him between the sheets, but also the girls' curiosity about sex; they may not be completely impressed at first, but Bob assures them, "I thought I were great!"

I suppose two girls in quick succession is something of an achievement. In the freezing cold countryside at nighttime, too. Anyway, Bob is such a randy chap that he is even willing to take time off from his work to lure Rita and Sue away from school for his own satisfaction, but Dunbar makes it clear this is by no means one-sided, and his conquests are enjoying themselves too. But only for so long, because when Michelle finds a box of condoms in the pocket of her husband's trousers while ironing them her suspicions are raised, though this is the sole proof she has until one scene which many see as the hedonistic highlight.

Yes, for many Black Lace's best moment was singing Agadoo, for fewer it might be Superman, yet for the true connoisseur their finest five minutes will always be performing We're Having a Gang Bang halfway through this film. It's a sequence which sums up the devil may care attitude of the three principals, and also the consequences that are looming when Michelle's friend Mavis spots them and reports back to her the next day. Cue a massive argument in the street, with onlookers tut-tutting (and in one case cheerleading) and the scandal plain for all to see. If there's a problem with Rita, Sue and Bob too then it's that it cannot make up its mind whether to take the characters seriously or not, so one scene where where it's all a laugh goes straight into another where Sue and Rita fall out, or Sue's new boyfriend Aslam (Kulvinder Ghir) slaps her about. It does have a great final line, however, and when it's funny it's very funny. Music by Michael Kamen.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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