“Meet Chastity … She’s a bummer, a loser, a cop-out and a dropout!”

Hmm, guess they left out a scamp, a camp and a bit of a tramp. Just in time for the fourth year of Cher’s farewell tour, MGM has released on home video, for the first time ever, Cher’s earliest dramatic role, this Sonny Bono-written, -produced and -scored stinker from 1969 that bankrupted the couple and determined their forthcoming daughter’s name and sexuality (more on that later). Bono took dramatic license here in telling the story of how he first met Cher as a teen runaway and took her in only after he promised no hanky-panky. For nearly two hours neither hanky nor panky ensue, with Cher constantly running away from prick-teased sweaty men so she can clock in more time existentially rapping to herself.

Playing on her infamous pre-stardom stupidity (Sonny once wrote in his bio that Cher thought Mount Rushmore was a natural rock formation), our naive yet jaded heroine, Chastity, is rather like the hippie equivalent of the annoying kid in the back seat who keeps asking, “Are we there yet?” Unable to make sense of herself, she questions others with deep thoughts like, “You’re thinking, aren’t you? People are always thinking.” Unable to work out the subtle mechanics of a confessional booth (insert Roman Catholic guilt scene) she steals a convertible and drives to a Mexican bordello, enlists herself for ho duty and continues not to give men value on their gringo buck. Alas, there is a blond madam who takes up the Chastity challenge (insert mostly implied lesbian love story), which Chastity talks herself into with, “Why do you feel so peaceful? … Be careful, Chastity, this is a new scene,” before tearing out amid cries of, “You stink! This place stinks!” So does this movie, although the allure of seeing Cher in her natural pre-rhinoplasty splendor is a sight worth beholding. The lack of extras beyond the trailer and scene selection illustrates that no one living or dead was willing to do a commentary and Cher probably wishes this Chastity stayed in the closet, as it were. Not recommended to anyone who bought Cher’s Greatest Hits and felt shortchanged by the exclusion of “The Shoop Shoop Song.”

Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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