Skin Deep (1989) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

A fortyish man is married to a sensible, attractive, accomplished mature woman. He's a successful writer, and his life should be blissful, but he's burdened by two liabilities: he drinks too much; and he just can't keep his eyes off younger women. His most trustworthy confidante is a savvy, compassionate bartender.

Does it sound a lot like 10, the famous Bo Derek movie? That's because both films were written and directed by the same guy, Blake Edwards. Skin Deep could easily be a sequel to 10 with only some minor tinkering. The main character in Skin Deep writes popular books instead of popular songs, but he spends about twenty minutes of the film's running time at the piano, tinkling out mellow songs, and he spends no time writing or talking about books, so it seems that the author intended him to be a songwriter in the first place. Use a few search/replace actions on the screenplay to change the character's name to George Webber and his profession to songwriter, and you would never for a moment doubt that the film was originally written as a 10 sequel.

For the most part,  the Skin Deep characters are indistinguishable from their 10 counterparts, but the cast changed. Dudley Moore has gotten much taller, and is now played with equally rubbery aplomb by John Ritter. The calm Julie Andrews part is now played by Alyson Reed, and the wise Brian Dennehy bartender is now played by Vincent Gardenia in his penultimate film role. There are several young women this time around, but the hardbody Bo Derek role has been turned over to somebody with a really hard body, Raye Hollitt, better known as the muscular Zap from "American Gladiators."

The tone of the two films is similar as well. Although they are superficially comedies, there is an undercurrent of sadness running just beneath the laughter. Skin Deep is the sadder of the two films, which would make sense if it were conceived as a sequel to 10. The George Webber character would be older in the sequel and some of his boozy regrets would be deepening into despair as he starts to pay the piper for his womanizing while the booze takes its toll on his body and psyche.

John Ritter fills in nicely for Dudley Moore. Somewhere between his usual pratfalls and other slapstick moments, Ritter does some of the most reflective acting of his career. I do wish that the author had gone all the way with the character's change of professions, thus keeping Ritter off the piano. I had no objection to Dudley Moore's singing in 10, which fit perfectly into a character who was not a singer, but had other musical talents. Ritter, on the other hand, is utterly tone deaf. If the songs were really necessary (debatable) the script might have benefited from having them performed by someone else. For example, the bartender already worked in a piano bar, and the role could easily have been reworked to make him the performer. That change would not even have required recasting because Vincent Gardenia could sing well enough to handle that role.

Per the IMDb ranks, Skin Deep ranks just below average within the Edwards career, and that is a substantial career! Here are the rated films in which Edwards receives a writing credit:

  1. (7.58) - A Shot in the Dark (1964)
  2. (7.39) - The Party (1968)
  3. (7.19) - The Pink Panther (1963)
  4. (7.19) - Victor/Victoria (1982)
  5. (6.98) - The Great Race (1965)
  6. (6.94) - Soldier in the Rain (1963)
  7. (6.89) - The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
  8. (6.84) - My Sister Eileen (1955)
  9. (6.79) - The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)
  10. (6.43) - Wild Rovers (1971)
  11. (6.30) - Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
  12. (6.25) - What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966)
  13. (6.24) - The Notorious Landlady (1962)
  14. (6.13) - Operation Mad Ball (1957)
  15. (6.13) - Mister Cory (1957)
  16. (6.08) - The Tamarind Seed (1974)
  17. (6.04) - Drive a Crooked Road (1954)
  18. (6.00) - S.O.B. (1981)
  19. (6.00) - Darling Lili (1970)
  20. (5.99) - Gunn (1967)
  21. (5.91) - That's Life! (1986)
  22. (5.81) - This Happy Feeling (1958)
  23. (5.70) - 10 (1979)
  24. (5.51) - The Atomic Kid (1954)
  25. (5.44) - Sunset (1988)
  26. (5.43) - Skin Deep (1989)
  27. (5.32) - Switch (1991)
  28. (5.05) - Inspector Clouseau (1968)
  29. (5.03) - City Heat (1984)
  30. (4.91) - The Pink Panther (2006)
  31. (4.91) - The Man Who Loved Women (1983)
  32. (4.54) - Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
  33. (4.19) - Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)
  34. (4.04) - A Fine Mess (1986)
  35. (3.53) - Son of the Pink Panther (1993)

Apart from the occasional scene, I have never connected very well to the comedies of Blake Edwards. I invariably get interested when I read about them, and just as inevitably get disappointed. I did find a couple of the set pieces in this film to be very funny. The funniest takes place entirely in the dark, when our hero gets caught in flagrante by a cuckolded rock star boyfriend, and both men are wearing the guitarist's glow-in-the-dark condoms. The only objects we can see on an otherwise black screen are two glowing penises. This gag is brought back a second time to close the picture.



  • No features
  • the transfer is anamorphically enhanced, and is not especially vivid



  • Raye Hollit - breasts and buns

  • Brenda Strong - one breast, no accompanying face.

  • Chelsea Field - one nipple, far from the camera

  • Heidi Paine - breasts, quite far from the camera

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. It grossed $19 million in about a thousand theaters. It opened in 500 theaters and finished 7th, which was strong enough to merit an expansion. It did 60% better in its second week than in its first!
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C. Typical Blake Edwards comedy, just below the mid-point on his career list.

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