"A title like that just begs for abuse, doesn't it?"
There isn't much in cinema that I find more useless than a sex comedy that delivers neither sex nor comedy, but that's close to what we have in this mainly forgotten UK production from 1970. EHSHO (A.K.A. THINK DIRTY) stars goggle-eyed wonder Marty Feldman as a misfit ad man who decides to sex up his company's latest TV campaign, in ways far less witty and titillating than the filmmakers seem to have thought. Imagine PUTNEY SWOPE with all the anarchistic humor taken out, and you end up with something like this.Old movies that mock then-current TV commercials tend to show their age badly nowadays. (Seen THE GROOVE TUBE lately?) TV ads are ephemeral by nature, and locked into a specific time and place; part of what makes EHSHO so tiresome is that it pokes fun--not very cleverly--at the type of blandly shot, poorly animated ads that haven't played anywhere in the western world for years. But it's hard to imagine that this stuff was funny even back in 1970. Take Feldman's over-reliance on stock vaudeville bits. See Marty walk into a door, knock furniture over, and reach for similar gags that haven't gotten laughs since the Keystone Kops. We even get that done-to-death visual joke where a sexy woman eats a hot dog—and as Marty co-wrote the script, we can blame him for that, too.
Given the subject matter, this is the sort of film that can easily veer into edgy political commentary, as it did in the later HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING, which viewed the ad world as something like the pop-culture manifestation of Big Brother. A similar move might have given EHSHO a sorely needed bite, but Feldman and company seem intent on making a generic farce. It’s all mild sex jokes and brief glimpses of skin, and it’s that as much as anything that dates the film. Like too many films made in its time, it depends on the shock value of seeing and hearing naughty things on the big screen, which was still a novelty in 1970. By now, we’ve all gotten accustomed to seeing Cameron Diaz walk around with cum in her hair, and you can’t help but look back on movies like EHSHO with a certain patronizing gaze.There are a few good lines, and a spot-on parody of Swedish sex films, complete with subtitles—but ultimately EHSHO has nothing to make it worth the rental. Your home can do without it.