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By Brad Slager | March 23, 2003

Whither goest, Shannon Tweed?
Her last Direct-To-DVD effort was 2001’s “Dead Sexy”, and in it she was the only female lead not to lose her blouse, and we are left to wonder as to why. Has she chosen a new career path? Does she feel that in her advancing years her physique can no longer eclipse the lack of other talents? Is it that she has been forced to stay home to ensure that Gene Simmons isn’t sleeping with the help?
Whichever is the case we viewers can take comfort for there is a new voluptuary who may be ready to step into the vacuum—Kari Wuhrer. While dabbling in network programs and other film projects Kari also has been in her share of plot-free erotic thrillers and seems to have nestled quite comfortably into the role of our primary passion player. Kari more than compensates in not being the statuesque blonde that is Ms. Tweed with her willingness to perform in an acting scene if she feels it is essential to the nudity.
This proficiency is readily apparent in “Spider’s Web” as we do not even see the credits expire before we find her sitting naked in front of the computer. This is promptly followed by a nude stroll through her looking glass home, a wet blouse under the shower, and a rape attempt in her truck with a physical show of gratitude to her rescuer—and all this in the first ten minutes. Lest you fear this is possibly exploitive behavior by the filmmakers there is the fact that she has an executive producer credit to show as proof of her willingness to doff her Donna Karan for the lens.
Continuing the tradition sown by her progenitor this is an intrigue-laden film thick with conspiracy and twists, and when the plot gets nonsensical it is easily glossed by the next nude scene. One early incongruity involves her love interest, Stephen Baldwin…even more than Stephen Baldwin being her love interest. We are supposed to believe her to be in the role of an older woman despite the fact that Baldwin is a year older than Wuhrer, and despite that she looks and behaves like an uninhibited sorority sister, but she pulls off the deception by often wearing her hair in a tight bun.
We see Kari playing the role of Lauren, who in a business meeting with the Harding glass company makes a proposal that eventually gets her fired by her much younger boss, Harry, for showing him up. She drowns her sorrows in a bar and a man slips her a Mickey Finn and in the parking garage he tries to slip her more, but Clay Harding (Baldwin), steps in and gets her home. The next morning she gives him the Kama Sutra “thank you” and an alliance is born.
As she wears the same suit for the third straight day Lauren marches back to work and shows she was unjustly fired, and this gets Harry justly fired. She is brought on to help with a corporate takeover but soon tires of not being taken serious because, you see, she’s a girl. Meanwhile Clay has issues with his father and always acts up to get his attention. His juvenile attitude and her intolerance with the glass ceiling lead to a natural conclusion: With her detective friend Manny they plan on stealing $40 million from the Harding Company.
Now she’s already successful to the point of living in a sprawling manse, and he is already a wealthy heir to a glass fortune, so why would they risk everything to steal this money? Never mind, because here is another love scene. This involves Clay and Lauren misbehaving in his home as we see the elder Mr. Harding changing in the background. I not sure which is worse, that we see a fuzzy shot of the octogenarian in his tighty-whities, or that Wuhrer has been naked so often that her bare form could not distract from the troubling sight.
The writer was apparently content to think that entanglements were enough to make a story, much like having a bird’s nest in your spinning reel was enough to call it fishing. We soon see Harry and the rapist tailing Lauren to Clay’s house, (and then saying, “you easy little w***e.” apparently distinguishing her from the usual frigid w****s). Lauren has Manny follow these men and we have to guess who is scamming whom.
The guy who tried to rape Lauren works with Harry. Harry is actually in on the scam with Clay. Lauren dresses up like a woman from a different company just to make a phone call in a coffee shop. How did Clay and Harry know that Lauren would have come back to get Harry fired if he is working for a different company? And why would you wear disguise if you are on the phone in a place …wait, forget all that—she’s getting naked again.
SPOILER WARNING: (Although it really isn’t important)
With most of the movie played out the crew realized that they had plenty of shots of Kari’s breasts but very little in the way of plot, so they shoehorn a week’s worth of plot twists in the last ten minutes. The rapist guy is killed by Harry, and he tries to frame Lauren for the murder. Clay sneaks up on Manny and has him tossed off the roof of a building. Clay kills Harry and makes it out to be a suicide. All the while the money scam takes place in a series of phone and computer transfers that make for the best type of drama.
It occurred to me that we were supposed to be guessing whether these two would be together at the end, and if not then wondering which of the two would pocket the $40 mill. Without saying whom, one gets away while the other gets arrested and charged with the other’s murder. But this then begs what of the disappeared money? If the arrestee was said to have stolen the money from the Swiss bank account how could he/she have received it if they were arrested at the airport? Then wouldn’t it mean the other had stolen it, and wouldn’t that theft indicate they were not murdered?
This would be the time to go back and review one of the fifteen dozen love scenes. There…no more confusion.
There is plenty of fun to be found with “Spider’s Web”, but I am not sure the producers wanted it that way. I did give points off for the lingering shot of Baldwin’s pasty looking posterior, but there were bonus points for one-time James Bond, George Lazenby, who does little more than filling out a suit, and there was Kari supping on Belvedere martinis. Overall a smile was to be had.

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