Blu-ray Review: My Chauffeur

While Crown International was a major player in indie films, the studio was not exactly known for hiring stars for their productions. They’d occasionally hire a Playboy Playmate to bring a little sizzle to the screen. Once in a while one of their actors would get famous. But rarely would you recognize the faces on the screen. My Chauffeur broke all their rules. First off it starred an actress that had a recent hit. Deborah Foreman had recently sizzled up the screen with Nic Cage in Valley Girl and Val Kilmer in Real Genius. She wasn’t going to slum in this movie with her love interest being Sam J. Jones better known as Flash Gordon. Her screen nemesis was Howard Hesseman after he wrapped up WKRP in Cincinnati and right before Head of the Class. She even gets to share screen time with E.G. Marshall (12 Angry Men). My Chauffeur was a prestige comedy project from Crown International and finally gets the proper respect.

Casey Meadows (Foreman) is working in the kitchen of a fancy restaurant when she gets a job offer she can’t refuse. The mysterious owner of a luxury limo service wants her to become a chauffer. She accepts the gig, but her new co-workers don’t want to accept her. They are a bunch of men in their middle to late years who believe a woman’s place in the backseat as a paying customer. They really can’t take a bubbly Valley Girl (not related to the other film) behind the wheel. Her biggest hurdle is McBride (Howard Hessemen)> He’s out to get her drummed out during her trial period. He sets her up with the worst of their clients. She immediately gets assigned to deliver the punk rock star to the concert venue. “Cat Fight” (Leland Crooke) is in no condition to rock the microphone. He’s messed up on various substances and hasn’t finished his orgy with numerous women in the apartment. He has no plans to be on time. It takes all of Casey’s smarts to lure him into the backseat. She gets more than in the books when an Arab Shiek (Teller) wants a lift and a hustler (Penn Jillette) hops in the door. How far does she need to go to protect a client from being taken for a ride? The big ride she gets is an uptight businessman (Jones) who has very horrible way with women. The guy is cold, cruel and stalkery even though he looks like Flash Gordon with dark hair. Their first trip turns out to have him trip on something. Somehow she’s assigned again to take him all the way up to wine country. This is a frustrating journey, but things end up a little better between the two. The story gets weird at the end when we discover why the owner of the limo company hired her and a couple odd connections with a client and co-worker.

Ultimately My Chauffer is a story about disruption as Casey shakes up the limo business. She was the original Uber. The rather well known cast comes through in the film. Hesseman gets to be a massive douchebag as he rides Casey’s ass. Marshall gives the proper upper class manners as mysterious rich man. Penn and Teller are fun in this early cinematic appearance. While it is low budget, it plays like a really good and R-rated movie of the week. Even the ending which could easily have a distasteful twist, pulls out the plot as an ’80s comedy. This is a screwball comedy that could have easily just been an exploitation flick. The film has been released in various home video combos over the years, but this Blu-ray with bonus features and HD resolution finally gives My Chauffeur the luxury treatment deserving to a special film from Crown International.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The high definition transfer brings out the charms of Foreman’s ’80s gal. This is so much better than any of the versions that were packaged with 30 other Crown International titles. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mono. The mix is clean so that you can enjoy the dialogue and the charming sounds of 1986. The movie is subtitled.

DVD with all the features of the Blu-ray.

Audio Commentaries include writer/director David Beaird and actor Leland Crooke. Beaird explains how he got the idea for the film when he discovered Crown had a backseat of a limo set and not so good script about a lady chauffeur. In the world of movie making, if there’s a budget, you jump on it. There’s a second track with production assistant Jeff McKay recounting his time of long hours on a short shoot. It’s nice for a production assistant to have their say about working on a film.

Isolated Soundtrack allows you to listen to Paul Hertzog synth driven score without dialogue spoiling the notes.

License to Drive (15:59) catches up with Foreman. She recounts how she went from modeling to acting. Turns out My Chauffeur was one of her favorite films. She share memories of her time with Flash Gordon. She does bring up the messy business of how Crown International might have inflated the ticket sales to make it seem bigger than The Color Purple. Strangely, I feel My Chauffeur is more fun to watch over 30 years later.

Original Theatrical trailer (1:41) pushes the Valley Girl behind the wheel image.

TV Spots (1:37) pushes the romance and comedy.

Still Gallery (0:40) includes promo artwork and behind the scenes pics.

Vinegar Syndrome presents My Chauffeur. Directed by: David Beaird. Screenplay by: David Beaird. Starring: Deborah Foreman, Sam Jones, E.G. Marshall and Howard Hesseman. Running Time: 98 minutes. Rated: R. Released: August 8, 2017.. Running Time: 98 minutes. Rated: R. Released: July 25, 2017.

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