Smarmy, sniggering, stupid, and senseless, THE STATUE takes a one-joke premise not even suitable for an eight-minute segment of the old TV series "Love, American Style" and blows it up into a full movie that is only made barely palatable by Niven's expert farcemanship, although one wonders
if he actually read the script before accepting the role. Niven is a busy linguist in England who has just been awarded the Nobel Prize for having devised a universal language. Vaughn is the US Ambassador to England and asks Niven's young, beautiful artist wife, Lisi, to sculpt a statue of Niven.
The statue is to be placed in Grosvenor Square in front of the Unispeak Foundation and the US Embassy. Niven travels a great deal and has been home less than three weeks in three years, so this May-December marriage is hardly filled with companionship. She presents, at a cost of $50,000, an
18-foot high statute of Niven in the nude. There's no question that the face is his, but Niven soon realizes that there is one part of the statue that bears no resemblance to him at all. This makes him think that Lisi must have been having an affair with someone. He secures a list of several men
Lisi knows and goes off to find out which one of them lent his likeness to that section of the statue. He finds himself in a Turkish bath, at a nude stage play called "Skin," in a monastery, etc. When a man goes around looking at other men's you-know-whats, there is only one way to label him. In a
rush to find out who is the poser, the entire resources of the US are put into play, and we see a tourist have his pants pulled down in Brazil, Army doctors snapping photos of inductees at a southern draft office, and lots of other such "hilarious" goings-on. The statue has yet to be unveiled, and
when Vaughn comes to see it in Lisi's studio he is shocked and pleads with her to add a fig leaf. She won't do it, protesting that that would compromise her work. Vaughn has the statue taken apart for fear of his job. At the same time Niven is off in Florence talking to Lisi's teacher. He then
learns that the model for the statue's questionable area was Michelangelo's "David." The twist at the end has Lisi presenting a huge nude sculpture of Vaughn.
Filmed in Italy, THE STATUE is a new low in tastelessness. The name of the statue, for no apparent reason, is "Charlie," which is the name of the song by Ortolani and Norman Newell, sung by The Statuettes. The other unmemorable tune was "Skin" by Audrey Nohra and Luis Enriquez Bacalov. In one of
his earliest films, note John Cleese of the "Monty Python" group. THE STATUE is soft porn for soft heads.
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- Released: 1971
- Rating: R
- Review: Smarmy, sniggering, stupid, and senseless, THE STATUE takes a one-joke premise not even suitable for an eight-minute segment of the old TV series "Love, American Style" and blows it up into a full movie that is only made barely palatable by Niven's expert… (more)