LADY IN WAITING is a softcore thriller with a laconic, boozy veneer and not much initiative in the way of story development. Much like the call girls who provide a focus for most of the action, the film does what it's paid to do and exits quietly.
Jimmy Scavetti (Michael Nouri) is a hardworking, recovering alcoholic cop with a troubled past, including strong-arming prostitutes. Scott Henley (Charles Grant), the lawyer who plea-bargained him into a dead-end homicide job, didn't stop there, and wound up usurping his wife Elizabeth (Karin
Kopins) and his 10-year-old son in the bargain. Now he wants to move them all to New York, against everyone's wishes. When call girls start turning up dead, strangled with a red scarf, signs point to Henley, who was implicated in a similar death at a wild party. Meanwhile, Henley's being
blackmailed by Fiola Richards (Crystal Chappell), a newly-respectable Senator's wife who once worked for the Lady in Waiting escort service. When Henley is murdered, Scavetti and his ex-wife both become prime suspects.
While Scavetti and partner Charlie Burns (Robert Costanzo) work double-time to clear him, and their Lieutenant (William Devane) struggles to ignore the rising tide of circumstantial evidence, their search leads them through the byzantine empire of sex for sale, as well as to figures from
Scavetti's sordid past. Enter Lori Danner (Shannon Whirry), a mysterious beauty in a blue Porsche. When Burns is killed after a late-night rendezvous, Scavetti follows up on a blind lead to finger Danner as the sister of Henley's original victim, as well as the one who killed him. As he confronts
her poolside, blackmailer Richards turns up at the apartment. Scavetti learns that Richards killed Burns to stymie the investigation. The two women shoot each other simultaneously, and with justice done, Scavetti reclaims his family.
Although rife with undraped bodies, LADY IN WAITING is basically a knotty, plot-heavy policier, given a shot in the arm by veteran character actors in incidental roles--notably JFK lookalike Devane as the good cop, a somnambulant Meg Foster as a retired madam, and Costanzo as the roly-poly
partner. The feeling here is strangely anachronistic: the one unbridled sex scene, much of it shot hand-held at skewed angles, comes across like an out-take from a Russ Meyer flick; swank cocktail-lounge interiors, faux-European madams, and Jayne Mansfield clones all seem drawn from another era,
when stag films or all-night smokers would have been the order of the day. Still, it's slow going for all but devotees of colossally pneumatic women, who should do just fine. (Violence, nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: LADY IN WAITING is a softcore thriller with a laconic, boozy veneer and not much initiative in the way of story development. Much like the call girls who provide a focus for most of the action, the film does what it's paid to do and exits quietly. Jimmy… (more)