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Film / Skin Deep

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The comedy that glows in the dark...

Skin Deep is a 1989 romantic comedy film written and directed by Blake Edwards, starring John Ritter, Vincent Gardenia and Alyson Reed.

Zachary "Zach" Hutton (Ritter) is a successful author who has a weakness for alcohol and beautiful women. Zach's mistress walks in on him in the process of cheating on her with her attractive hairdresser, followed by his estranged wife Alex (Reed) discovering his mistress about to shoot him with his revolver. Following the breakup of those relationships, Zach engages in a long period of binge-drinking and solace-seeking with a string of women.

This film has the examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Several of Zach's lovers are this for him.
  • The Alcoholic: Zach is a major one, which is more or less the source of most of his problems.
  • Amazonian Beauty: One of the women Zach sleeps with is Lonnie, who turns out to be a female bodybuilder. She is played by Raye Hollitt, best known as Zap from American Gladiators.
    Lonnie: Look at it this way, Zach. I've worked 5 years, 52 weeks a year, five days a week, 3 hours a day, to build this body. (she takes off the robe and reveals her bodybuilder form in a bikini and starts flexing) And for one night, this night, it's all yours. How do you feel about that?
    Zach: (amazed and scared) Like Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    (a little later)
    Lonnie: I hope you're not frightened now, Zach.
    Zach: I'm not, but fortunately my cock is scared stiff.
  • Author Avatar: Zach is a rather obvious one for Blake Edwards; his other films have featured the same cheating womanizer, such as Dudley Moore in 10 (1979) and Micki and Maude, Burt Reynolds in The Man Who Loved Womennote  and Jack Lemmon in That's Life.
  • Brick Joke: The film ends with Zach wearing a glow-in-the-dark condom festooned with stars and stripes while "The Star-Spangled Banner" plays.
    Molly: You're in a monogamous relationship now. So take it off.
    Zach: Okay, but you're not bein' very patriotic.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Played with. It's not the eyes that glow in the dark.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Zach pick up an attractive blonde at a bar. When they get back to the bedroom, she takes off the dress and is revealed to be quite muscular. She was played by Raye Hollitt, later one of the first American Gladiators. (It's hinted at as the outfit she wears doesn't hide the fact she's thicker than most women in certain areas, including the neck.)
  • Cock Fight: Played quite literally in the film's signature scene, where Zach and another man fight for the same woman while wearing glow-in-the-dark condoms in a pitch dark bedroom, at one point literally swinging their dicks at each other.
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy Is Torture: played with; Zach's ex-girlfriend Molly actually administers benign electro-therapy treatments as a muscle relaxant, but when she has Zach on the table, she deliberately turns up the voltage; the results are not painful so much as highly embarrassing.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Dr. Westford tells Zach the story of "The Scorpion and the Frog."
    Zach: (after hearing the story) You know what I feel like saying to you?
    Dr. Westford: Yes. You feel like telling me to go fuck myself, and you probably will, because it's your character.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Zach cheats on his wife, has sex with women cheating on their husbands. He charms his way through conflict, but it's catching up with him.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Several of Zach's lovers are this. One even tries to kill him.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Although her muscular appearance intimidates Zach a little, Lonnie, who is blond, is also kind and generous.
  • Irony: Before sleeping with Lonnie, Zach checks his body out in the mirror, seeing if he has a hot bod. Little does he know he's going to sleep with someone with muscles literally twice his size.
  • Loveable Sex Maniac: Zach is a Nice Guy, and he screws around. And it gets him in trouble. A lot. For instance, Angela catches Zach in bed with another woman, and pulls a gun on him. Then Molly, Zach's wife, walks in on both women — Angela was another woman Zach was cheating with!
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lonnie Jonies, played by female bodybuilder Raye Hollitt has a sex scene with Zach, where she gets in lingerie and then naked.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: Not quite naked and not exactly outside, but after sleeping with Lonnie, Zach walks in on her morning aerobics class in his underwear. He tries to go back to the bedroom, but the door handle comes off, and so he has no choice but to join in.
  • Nice Girl: Lonnie Jones. She's extremely sweet and understanding.
  • Nice Guy: Zack, when not drunk. Unfortunately, he's a little too nice.
  • Noodle Incident: Somehow, one of Zach's drunken rampages ended up with his friend's dog glued to the ceiling.
  • Stating the Simple Solution:
    Dr. Westford: If an alcoholic wants me to cure him, you know what I say?
    Zach: That's a question. That's not a suggestion... What do you say?
    Dr. Westford: First, stop drinking.
    Zach: I don't get it.
    Dr. Westford: Go home and think about it. That's my suggestion.
  • There Is a God!: "... and he's a gag writer!"
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The "It's all yours" moment in the trailer spoiled the fact that Lonnie was a bodybuilder, when in the film it was meant to be a surprise.
  • Writer's Block: It's not clear whether writer's block is causing Zach to drink and sleep around, or vice versa.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me:
    Zach: We both know you're not going to shoot. You couldn't hurt a fly.
    Angela: I could if I caught it fucking my hairdresser!