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Cover Me Reviews

COVER ME aspired to historical distinction by announcing itself as the first movie produced under the auspices of Playboy Enterprises, although, in fact, the company had previously backed both Polanski's MACBETH and the anthropological oddity THE NAKED APE. COVER ME did inaugurate a set of steamy Playboy features, released directly to video in 1995 via Paramount, but it ultimately amounts to yet another "erotic thriller" that probably would have happened anyway, even without the legendary bunny logo in the credits. A serial strangler is stalking pinup girls, and investigating Sgt. Colter (Rick Rossovich) hatches the plot device that has been popular since Angie Dickinson did her "Police Woman" role for network TV: send a female officer undercover to pose, literally, as bait for the psycho. The voluptuous vixen volunteer is Colter's LAPD partner in and out of bed, Holly Jacobs (Courtney Taylor), suspended after a public uproar for shooting a depraved child-killer who happened to be black. (The intrusion of such a real-world detail clashes with the pandering plot themes borrowed from SHOWGIRLS, STRIPPED TO KILL, ULTIMATE DESIRES, and even lesser films in which the hardworking heroine gets a charge out of being slobbered over as a sex object.) Holly indulges in nude photo sessions, exotic dancing, body doubling, and even a little lesbianism, all beyond the call of duty. The filmmakers toss in constant reminders of the murderer still at large, tranvestite Dmitri or Demi (Steven Nichols), mad because his mother used to dress him like a girl. Demi captures Holly and, in a climax that seems to go on forever, she keeps him gabbing and weeping until Colter can burst in to save the day. Somehow it comes as no surprise that COVER ME was coproduced by DUMB AND DUMBER moguls Brad Krevoy and Steven Stabler. COVER ME is talky and depressing, the former to allow performers like Sorvino, Gould, and newcomer Taylor to do serious speechifying and lend the production a patina of acting talent. The latter quality is harder to square with Playboy's oft-declared devotion to "the good life"; why dwell on the sordid slaughter of beautiful women? The Hefner philosphy would seem better served by many other auteurs in the erotic-video biz (like Andy and Arlene Sidaris, Chuck Vincent, or Zalman King), than by Paul Bartel associate Michael Schroeder (OUT OF THE DARK) and this stale noir wannabe. COVER ME certainly does not lack uncovered flesh. One cutie, after a strip-club shift under the faucets as a "shower dancer," goes home to soak in a bath. (Violence, sexual situations, nudity, profanity, adult situations, substance abuse.)