Cast: Judith O’Dea, Cindy Marie Martin, Tara Garwood, Kelley Slagle, James A. Radack
R-Squared Films / Not Rated / NTSC Region 1 / 16×9 Widescreen / Mono / English / 104 Minutes
When in college, Women’s Studies was a subject that always became the joke amongst me and friends who, oddly enough, mostly consisted of women. The course was an easy GPA saver with subject matter that any brain-dead person could understand. It always seemed to be a close friend to any classroom slacker until director Lonnie Martin grasped the subject matter by the cojones and twisted hard until they turned black and blue. However, Martin didn’t quite do it right. He took feminism to a new level with his homicidal women cult film Women’s Studies, but squandered his chance to create an original film with quality and substance. In the end, Lonnie Martin’s film became what my friends and I had always thought of Women’s Studies – a joke.
Graduate student Mary and her friends travel back to school for fall classes when summer comes to an end. When Mary’s car is stolen at a local eatery, a group of feminist invite her and her friends to stay with them at their private women’s academy. As the days pass with no word on Mary’s car, these feminists are more evident of the hatred for men than initially believed as they are actually a homicidal cult looking to rid the world of men and their inequalities towards women.
Women’s Studies began cleverly enough with the main protagonist Mary, a college graduate with multiple degrees including Women’s Studies, and her friends who have a mesh of different personalities that could create an interesting dynamic. Besides the indecisive feminist in Mary, her best friend Beth is a strong-willed individual with more of a butch side to her than a feminine one. Iris is a studious outcast with a dark family secret and, lastly, there is Mary’s boyfriend Zack who is a soon-to-be doctor and who had a former relationship with Beth. There were too many missed opportunities for complexity between each character. Some issues were lightly touched upon, like the Zack and Beth relationship, but nothing was fleshed out so what was the point of even including them in film? But these characters are more transparent than the students of Ross-Prentiss Women’s Academy. With the exception of Kelly Slagle’s character of the scorned Diane, each of these fine, young ladies are a mystery with no background information as to why they’ve chosen a life of extreme feminism or to even make us care for them. They are just there to be a part of the Goddess worshiping, man-hating (or man-castrating) cult.
With the C-grade acting, the plot holes gaping across the script and the shoddy work on production and post-production, nothing was worse than the “John Rambo”-like scene where Mary is readying for battle against her murderous feminist sisters. Mary’s montage scene of her gearing up in her tennis outfit and garnishing herself with a tennis racket as a weapon has to be one of the most dumbfounding and laugh-out-loud scenes I’ve ever shaken my head in disgrace to. Women’s Studies had no comical undertones throughout and yet here is Mary running through the forest in her Tennis ensemble ready to serve one right down a cultist’s throat. By this time, I could no longer take Women’s Studies any more serious than I can Rob Schneider as a gigolo.
Women’s Studies doesn’t know whether it is a women’s empowerment movement or just another film about how crazy women can really be. The film does stir the issues of women being treated unequally in the professional world but with a film entitled Women’s Studies, you would think there would be widespread nudity. But being in tune with the true feminism, there was no hint of sexuality from any of the female characters except for maybe some lesbianism and awkward short scenes of killer strippers. But if you want to check the film out for yourself, Women’s Studies will be out June 8th from R-Squared’s Big Bite Entertainment label.