The Foxy Merkins

foxy merkins 2

“Oh, it’s a merkin salesman!” “What’s a merkin?” “It’s a toupée for your vagina.” Writer/director Madeleine Olnek has a gift for titles. The Foxy Merkins is her newest, a moniker just as ridiculous but more succinct than that of her last film, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same. It’s a buddy comedy about lesbian hookers in New York, starring Lisa Haas and Jackie Monahan, who also co-wrote the film. The synopsis invokes “bargain-hunting housewives” and “double-dealing conservative women” among their clients, both of which promise a certain degree of hilarity. Jo (Monahan) is the more experienced of the two, and resolutely identifies as heterosexual. Margaret (Haas) is the newbie, down on her luck and looking for cash. If this sounds a bit like Midnight Cowboy, that’s because it’s likely a satire, at least in part. Space Alien, which also starred both Monahan and Haas, was an irreverent send-up of old science fiction B-movies, complete with dirt-cheap sets and entirely unbelievable flying saucers. There’s a wonderful sense of love and wit in Olnek’s brand of spoof, which was recognized by IFP as one of 2011′s best undistributed films and part of that year’s Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You series. Its comedy is as understated as its production, which planted its absurdly dressed bald-headed lesbian aliens in diners and gay bars around Manhattan. The ensuing awkwardness, both in dialogue and visual juxtaposition, make it one of the most interesting indie comedies of the last few years. And you can rent it on […]

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TheFoxyMerkins_Cemetery_LisaHaas_JackieMonahan_Photo_by_AnnaStypko

“Are you a women’s studies major?” And thus begins a beautiful friendship – sort of. The sweetly neurotic Margaret (Lisa Haas) has just moved to New York City (for reasons never fully explained, like much of the narrative action in The Foxy Merkins) and, without a job or a home, has flirted with prostitution as a possible career path. Margaret’s apparent aim is to hook (literally) closeted housewives, preppy upper crust ladies, country club bunnies, and the like, but she’s woefully inept at landing her prey, and she’s in dire need of both a friend and a little direction. Jo (Jackie Monahan) is a gal with a little bit of experience when it comes to hustling (life) and hustling (street). The duo become fast friends outside a downtown Manhattan diner, with Jo winning both Margaret and the audience over with that crisply tossed-off women’s studies remark, a joke that would fall flat if delivered from a less salty mouth. Margaret soon moves in with Jo at her pied-a-terre – a bathroom at the Port Authority bus station, where Jo stashes both her body (under the sink, every night) and a bottle of good tequila (behind a toilet) – and the pair begin hooking around town together, principally centering their operations outside a neighborhood Talbots store (smart clothes, preppy women, and they don’t kick you out). While Margaret is unschooled at her new profession, and her neuroses and asthma seem to inhibit her success at every turn, Jo is so experienced […]

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