Coming Soon (1999) from Tuna

With the DVD released 9/25/2000, Coming Soon (1999) can finally be seen in the director's cut, totally uncensored by MPAA interference. This is a film that the director expected to get a pg rating, and she went into a state of near-shock when MPAA originally slapped an NC-17 on it!

You would expect this to mean that there is now nudity in the restored version, but you would be wrong.

What the MPAA found so offensive is the central theme of the film, which is teenaged girls in search of orgasm. Seems the MPAA does not think girls should have good sex. Coming Soon is about 3 young women, all seniors at an exclusive prep school in Manhattan. They are best friends, and share everything, including their hopes and dreams. These are mostly orgasm with a partner, and getting into Harvard or Yale. As the film opens, we see Bonnie Root (or, more exactly, Bonnie Root's face) as she loses her virginity. When the young man rolls off, she is still waiting for the good part. Her girlfriends show up to ask how it went, and she asks them how to get the diaphragm out. They tell her, and she hands it back to them. Seems she borrowed it. This is as sexy as the film gets.

Gabby Hoffman and Tricia Vessy are great as Bonnie Root's best friends, and Mia Farrow is superb as her mother. The photography is top notch, the score suits the film, and the New York scenery is also well done. The story, which you can think of as an American Pie for girls, is fresh, sharp and funny, and is told with great pace. In sort, this Indie is very well made. Even though I am a polar opposite of the target audience (teenaged girls), I found it very entertaining. This film had no US distribution at all.


Why, you might ask, would a film that everyone who has screened it loves not have a US release? First, it was slapped with an NC-17 by MPAA. The MPAA admitted that the same material, but spoken by boys, would not be a problem. After finally securing an R by cutting out the funniest material, they still found nothing but closed doors at the distributors. Fox did purchase International distribution rights, but their domestic department said that there was no market, and they had no interest at all. Writer/director Colette Burson ask, "what do you mean, nobody wants to see teenaged girls? Teenaged girls want to see them, teenaged boys want to see them, men want to see them, women want to see them." So what demographic group doesn't want to see teenaged girls in pursuit of orgasm? Fathers of teenaged girls, and men who are afraid they are not giving as good as they are getting.

Burson deliberately shot the film expecting a PG, since her target audience was teenaged girls. To give you an idea of the inane MPAA objections, at one point, Bonnie gives her date a blow job. We know this because she goes out of frame into his lap, then comes back into frame rubbing her sore jaw. MPAA decreed that either the going out of frame, or the returning to frame had to be cut, because showing both implied duration. The duration, of course, was the joke. They also objected to a scene where Bonnie has her first orgasm in a Jacuzzi, using the water jet. All we see is her face the entire time. Seems killing teenaged girls (8 MM) is only R material, but the thought that girls can come is NC-17.

Support this film for two reasons.
  • First, it is a very good film.
  • Second, we need to get a message to the MPAA that we don't like the way they are doing their job.

The Critics Vote

  • Apollo 76. The New York Times also gave it a good review. They saw it on the one screen which it managed to appear on.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters inexplicably score it 3.5. Apollo users 66/100.

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