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Upon returning home from a day of shopping, our New York housewife is startled to find her husband cavorting in bed with her best friend. She throws down her wedding band and storms out. The distressed wife concludes that only her own sexual inadequacy would cause her husband to have another woman in her bed and on the advice of her psychiatrist, she visits CheeChee, a sex therapist with racy ideas about how to cure marital problems. CheeChee sends our "willing wife" on a series of sensual, hilarious escapades. She learns about herself, eliminates her inhibitions, gains confidence in her amatory skills, and soon is ready to win her husband back. In one of the most climactic scenes of the decade, she proves that her friend is no competition for a "willing wife." The wife and husband reunite and the sparks fly again as they had years ago.
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Editor's Review


The housewife finding fulfillment once she has been relieved of the demands placed upon her by an errant husband has been a staple ingredient of sex cinema since day one, usually played straight with the concerned commitment of its instigators supplying the socially redeeming value required to excuse evolving explicitness, so expertly spoofed by Radley Metzger in his PRIVATE AFTERNOONS OF PAMELA MANN . Hell, Joe Sarno practically made his living exploring the trials and tribulations of this stock character throughout the '60s, culminating with his 1974 masterpiece CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG American HOUSEWIFE . Still, there's only so much mileage you can get from a domestic drudge transformed through erotic enlightenment without getting bogged down with tiresome clich├ęs so Norman Gurney's SECRETS OF A WILLING WIFE wisely plays the situation strictly for laughs.

Arriving home with a brown paper bag full of groceries, sad sack Susan (Merle Michaels) catches her spouse Martin (Eric Edwards) in flagrante with her best friend Jeannie (bigboned brunette Rikki O'Neal), prodigiously popping all over her dirty-talking mug the exact same moment wifey walks through the door. A shocked Susan throws her wedding ring on the floor and storms out of the house.

Trying to make sense of her predicament, she heeds the advice of a psychiatrist whose face is never shown and visits unorthodox sex therapist CheeChee (another scene-stealing turn by the uncrowned queen of adult aliases Patty Boyd) to help her let her hair down. Acting as if she were Carmen Miranda's understudy and dressing like a thrift store drag queen rendition of same, the formidable CheeChee inhabits a campy Technicolor apartment stuffed with phallic accouterments. Along with mischievous sidekick Gloria (Crystal Day), she will take the demure drudge under her fluttering wing till she's ready to emerge as a sexual swan.

As the disgruntled Martin struggles to adjust to his new domestic situation, finding sexual solace with Jeannie's surrogate Rita (Eric's inevitable paramour Arcadia Lake), Susan's busy exploring erotic possibilities. Sent on a mission to the local porno theater, she takes on both random patron Ron Jeremy and intervening usher Ron Hudd, eventually taking the action from the seats to the stage. Bar-hopping, Patty pairs off with Roger Caine, Crystal gets David Pierce while poor Merle stays stuck with dumb Dave Ruby. With newfound carnal confidence, Sue turns up at Martin and Jeannie's less than stellar household to reclaim her husband with barbs flying back and forth between both bitter rivals for Martin's affection. True love conquers all which Susan proceeds to prove by taking on her former BFF in a duel to satisfy Martin's urges, a marathon session that leaves all three participants spent and satisfied with the prospect of a three-way marriage a distinct possibility.

Fast-paced and frequently funny, this Willing Wife sure didn't come down with the last rain, which begs the question as to who's hiding behind the "Norman Gurney" moniker, obviously a director completely capable of handling both witty repartee and a scalding sex scene. Discarding the "usual suspects" like Vincent and Bill Milling whose brand of silliness played on a marginally more sophisticated plateau than this one's ultra-broad Mel Brooks type anything for a laugh attempts, the stinky finger seems to point in the direction of yet another pseudonymous pornographer bluntly referenced throughout. The credit of "David Stitt" turned up on a handful of late '70s core capers like LES NYMPHO TEENS, latter filling out the double bill playing at the film's adult theater with Chris Covino's Swedish SORORITY GIRLS. A poster for Stitt's best flick THE FUR TRAP adorns the couple's bedroom wall.

All of these movies were produced and/or distributed by Lloyd Kaufman's pre-Troma adult outlet Melody Films though it's unlikely that he himself would have been the perpetrator at a moment when his new and semi-respectable company was already hitting its first stride, vacillating between the innocuous T&A of SQUEEZE PLAY and the all out gore of MOTHER'S DAY, both already in the can. Brother Charlie, whose sole confirmed carnal credit's for the 1977 SECRET DREAMS OF MONA Q, seems an equally long shot even though the siblings' zany sense of humor that would permeate many a Troma zero budget "epic" could conceivably have sprung from the same well so perhaps they were involved at the script stage. Maybe the screenplay dated back to the days when the Kaufmans were deeply immersed in the intimate industry, an era neither appears eager to evoke to date, and had simply been gathering dust until someone got around to actually shooting it.

In the end, I think I have narrowed it down to two possibilities. First Covino, who delivered the goods in fine farces as BABE and BLUE JEANS (nominally billed as "John Christopher") and could always be counted on to contribute in any capacity to the creations of his carnal compadres, most frequently Vincent with whom he shared a fruitful artistic alliance since 1973's brilliant BLUE SUMMER. Their friendship was forged in part because both men were openly gay in a heterosexual hardcore industry largely segregated from its queer contingent. Finishing up back where I started, there's always Sarno who ultimately lost track of his own contributions on both sides of the explicit divide, spreading an awesome workload over an army of alter egos only some of which have since been acknowledged. Although he characteristically took a more earnest approach to his female-centered sex sagas, his occasional stabs at silliness with A TOUCH OF GENIE or THE SWITCH reveal a comic sensibility every bit as full-blooded as displayed here. On top of that, there's the unmistakable style of the sex scenes themselves, shot in the moody and cost-effective vein he popularized and made his trademark in decades past with pools of bright light amidst the surrounding inky darkness, taking the encounter out of any realistic setting into the abstract.

-Review courtesy of DirtyMovieDevotee