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HOT DOG...THE MOVIE. Directed by Peter Markle; written by Mike Marvin; produced by Edward S. Feldman for MGM/UA. Starring Patrick Houser, Tracy N. Smith and David Naughton. Rated R (nudity).


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This movie is about skin and skiing. People who like the latter and aren't offended by too much of the former (or vice versa) will find Hot Dog mildly amusing.

The story line is completely predictable and the characters are almost like cartoons. Trying to find a single sports movie cliche that Hot Dog doesn't use would probably make watching it more interesting. (Except during the skiing scenes, which are well-shot and lots of fun.)

Our hero (Houser) is, except for one forgivable lapse, pure as the driven snow. He is also the best hot-dogger (freestyle skier) anyone has ever seen. A shoe-in, it would seem, to be the first American to win the world-freestyle title in several years. His main competition is a nasty Austrian with no redeeming qualities (John Patrick Reger). And he is supported by a spunky but sweet girlfriend (Smith), and a cadre of colorful fellow hot-doggers.

This familiar group acts out a story familiar from so many other sports movies. Unknown hero performs well, gains moral victory, ends up with right girl, puts disagreeable champ in his place.

Downhill Racer, a considerably more interesting skiing movie, put a twist on these stock ingredients. There, the disagreeable competitor (Robert Redford) was also the "hero." Don't look for any such touches of originality in Hot Dog.

The swinging side of skiing is given equal weight here with the sport. There is an incredible amount of female flesh displayed throughout, all of it very nimble and attractive. But the result is far from erotic. There's nothing kinky, sadistic or even really obscene about the nudity. But we just see too much of people we don't care enough about. It gets boring.

Strangely enough, with a ratio of female to male exposed skin of about 99 to 1, Hot Dog isn't completely sexist. There are some women hot-doggers who compete with the men. Small consolation to any outraged feminists in the audience, but it should be mentioned.

It's doubtful that the good skiing footage alone would make this movie worth seeing for skiing enthusiasts, especially with the Winter Olympics coming up so soon. As for the devotees of (very) softcore porn, they may find Hot Dog worthwhile. But I suspect a half hour of "Aerobicise" would probably do as much for them. However, if you like both skiing and skin, and don't care if a mindless plot occasionally intrudes, Hot Dog could be your movie.

January 25, 1984

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