After a musical interlude and travel montage complete with map overlay, the girls and Harris (who, really, might as well be a girl, what with his Mandals and wide-eyed, grating innocence) arrive in LA and before you can quote any Kanye West lyrics at her, Kelly has inexplicably weaseled her way into the heart of her young maiden aunt and gotten a promise of a portion of some mysterious family inheritance. Convenient! Yet-more-conveniently, young maiden aunt is palsy-walsy with uber-producer Z-Man and invites the girl group to a party taking place at his bachelor pad that very evening. Doubleplusconvenient, even!
Just how swank is this party? It's TURBAN WEARING GUY swank! Yes, the turban: much like the fez, it's the visual symbol of seventies decadance. Because we need plot friction at this point, Z-Man immediately takes a shine to Kelly and introduces her to the myriad pleasures of his universe (Sex! Drugs! German bartenders! Ferns in the bathroom!). After an impromptu performance of their actually-kinda-awesome single "Sweet Talkin' Candyman" by the girl group (backed up by the Strawberry Alarm Clock--f'reals), Z-Man rechristens the group The Carrie Nations and dubs himself their manager.
Cut to another dizzying montage, this time with the heads of Harris and Z-Man superimposed over the girls. I'm sorry, but... this looks more like it's developing sexual tension between the two male characters than anything else. I mean--just look at their swoony expressions, their meaningful glances...! There's no room for the ladies here, trust me.
Needless to say, this is the beginning of the downward spiral. I won't spoil the fun for you by detailing what happens, but there's groovy-ass interior decor, seduction, gay seduction, amazing outfits, even-more-amazing boobage, drugs, maiming and cross-dressing. WIN!
Also, super-duper-hott lesbianism. You can take a minute--I'll be here when you're done.
Now that you're composed again, I'll toss some cold water on you, because the coda to this movie is quarter past moralistic. In fact, it's so fucking moralistic that I have to think it's parody. There's a voiceover and everything, narrating out the sins of each character and the price he or she was forced to pay. It's some serious Hays Code level bullcrap, but it's hilarious--make no mistake about that.
As a document of atom-bomb-level groovyness, "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" delivers--it's silly and wonderful and colorful and naughty and just all-around marvy. Heartily APPROVED, says I.