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Rented Lips (1988)

Tags: Supporting Role, Comedy, Last Resort for the Obsessive Fan, Career Trajectory: Established Actor, RDJ Improvises!, Shirtless, Underwear (Or Less), Has an Accent, Weirdness, Not Released on DVD


A documentary filmmaker resorts to shooting a porno and many strange things occur.


Robert Downey Sr.

Downey Factor

Medium. Heís got a decent amount of screen time, although he is definitely a supporting player.


Wolf Dangler, a pornstar who takes his acting craft very seriously.


Moustache and beard, often not wearing any pants, occasionally sports an afro wig.


Varied, weird.


If we werenít going for a PG rating, Iíd tell you to go fuck yourself. But Iím a gentleman, and thereís ladies around.


Something opera.


Mainly Southern, with a bit of German in the film-within-the-film.

Love & Sex

No love interest but there is some grainy footage of the grabby pornstar in action.

Dies, Gay or Villain

No, no, no.


Jennifer Tilly, Martin Mull


Robert Downey Sr.ís Hugo Pool, Pound, Up the Academy, America, Moment to Moment, Too Much Sun, Greaserís Palace, in The Last Party and Johnny Be Good. Jennifer Tilly in Johnny Be Good.

RDJ Says

In my fatherís films, I always wind up with my pants off, half-dressed, barking verbally abusive commands at someone. Thereís obviously something to this ... Working with dad on Rented Lips was great because he always called me by my characterís name. He went out of his way to make sure that there were no concessions made to me because I was his son. Meanwhile, I was playing a porn star in fishnet underwear, doing a scene with Edy Williams. I donít know where that came from. Heíd let me sing songs and do improv ... In most of the film, I wear fishnet underwear, and I donít give a shit. I stuffed my underwear, too. I had this huge wad of toilet paper, and I kept asking the camera guys to please just keep panning around from the front to the side. So you could see from the front angle it looked really big. But when you panned to the side, it looked so obviously fake ... Heís by far the sickest character Iíve ever played. Heís into wigs and slipping into and out of accents ... If you thought Julian [from Less Than Zero] was unbalanced, wait until you see this guy Wolf Dangler. Heís the sickest, craziest character Iíve ever played and itís great fun.


Released in theaters 1 July 1988. Never released on DVD.

Foreign Titles

Brazil: Corpo de Aluguel (A Body for Rent)
Spain: Labios de Alquiler (Lips for Rent)

2 Reasons to See It

1. Complete your viewership of the triumvirate of films where he plays a character who pretends to be German and/or a Nazi.
2. Two words: no pants.


With a contrived plot, musical numbers and a series of characters who are weird just for the sake of being weird, calling this movie quirky would be the understatement of the century. Downey Sr. movies are not everyoneís cup of tea. They may be your cup of tea if you like your tea served by a midget tap dancer in a clown suit.

If You Liked It

You might also like Hugo Pool / Pool Girl (1996), Too Much Sun (1991)