By Brad Slager | August 18, 2003

Initially I felt there was the possibility that this film would not meet my usual criteria for this column, given that some people could argue that this was Pamela Anderson’s starring debut and therefore she does not qualify as a prominent movie star. Of course, there are just as many who might argue that Ms. Anderson qualifies as two prominent stars. As it stands, when this movie premiered Pam was at the crest of her “Baywatch” and recidivist-centerfold fame and her big screen coming-out was highly anticipated. This included a hype-inducing appearance at Cannes, a locale known for generating excitement around films few people will see.

Her turn as the corseted comic book heroine Barb Wire was thought to be such a box-office slam dunk that when the movie debuted with a thud, one pundit declared that this was proof that America, as a country, was entirely gay. Pam as Barb debuted in the number twelve spot, actually getting out dueled by “The Pallbearer”, which appeared on 500 fewer screens. The producers soon discovered that hordes of shut-ins downloading free images of Anderson starkers does not equate an audience willing to drop $7.50 for the same fleeting privilege in a theater. When you cannot even do as well as a movie starring David Schwimmer, it is time to go back to the beach.

Those wanting to see a nude Pamela Anderson in a theater are those who haven’t already seen her in one of her numerous spreads in Playboy Magazine. And yet, if you are too young to purchase the periodical you are also too young to purchase a ticket to an “R” rated film. (Insert a marketing-department pink slip memo here). As for those with a subscription to Hef’s magazine? They have proven in the past to be an unreliable money resource. In the early 1980s, Bo Derek was the skin model of choice, and while she was in the popular film “10”, she became a pictorial regular only after that success. Playboy featured her with tie-in photo spreads for “Tarzan, the Ape Man” and “Bolero”, and both were laughable failures. Pamela supplanted Derek as the model with the most covers in Playboy history, but that only showed how she was better suited for still photography and not motion pictures.

The story continues in part two of MILK CARTON CINEMA: BARB WIRE>>>

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