Eye For Film >> Movies >> Lifetime Guarantee: Phranc's Adventures in Plastic (2001) Film Review
Lifetime Guarantee: Phranc's Adventures in Plastic
Reviewed by: Nicola Osborne
Phranc may be an unusual name for a woman, but Phranc is no ordinary androgynously handsome Jewish ex-punk-rocking lesbian. Oh no... she is also one of America's best Tupperware salesladies. Not an altogether obvious career move, but it makes more sense when you've experienced this documentary, which is simply fantastically Tupper-tastic!
Opening with clips of the original, hilarious recruitment ads for Tupperware, intercut with our own unconventional heroine, we instantly get into the chirpy swing of things, with Phranc soon emerging a star, as she kicks Tupper-ass at some very entertaining parties - women, or gay men, only please. Straight men are too impatient. "They want everything explained before the demonstrations."
Phranc got into plastic when she decided to settle down in LA with her family, as it allowed her to sing - you'll know the words to "Tupperware Lady" by the end. What's more, she really, REALLY believes in the products she eulogises.
Whilst the surface is very entertaining, occasional insights into the rest of her add much needed depth, although this only kicks in during the second half, as Lisa Udelson follows Phranc to national Tupper-get-togethers, discovering just how goddam middle-American middle America still is. As several women call her "sir", she finds herself ostracised by her employers, if not her peers. Only when she reaches her lowest point do we start to get a sense of her past and see genuine reactions to the sideswipes that she appears to brush off happily. The voyeur in me could have coped with a bit more of this, but it's understandable and refreshing to find a documentary subject who doesn't feel the need to sell their soul on film.
By picking such a fantastic heroine, all director Udelson needs to do is let the cameras roll, which is pretty much what she does. As a result, the pace and structure aren't always there. Phranc provides great music and charisma, as she becomes more at ease with the idea of performing before the camera.
My only real criticism is that I could have coped with at least another half hour, although it's reassuring to think that Phranc is out there shifting those surfer-style cake decorating tools, the non-stinky icetrays and the Marie Osmond approved cereal boxes...
Watch out, though. If she ever gets to Bonnie Scotland, I'll be booking the biggest damn Tupperware party you've ever seen!Reviewed on: 16 Aug 2001