This low-budget disco craze exploitation film was planned entirely as a promotional vehicle for artists under contract to Motown and Casablanca Records and featured music by Donna Summer, The Commodores, Thelma Houston, Diana Ross and Santa Esmeralda.
Summer was cast as Nicole Sims, an aspiring singer, anxious to break into the big time via an appearance at The Zoo, a Hollywood discotheque, while The Commodores appeared as a group who had to overcome myriad problems in reaching the venue in order to play at the final of the club’s dance contest.
The film follows the different storylines of various employees and patrons of the club. Among them are Dave (Mark Lonow) and Sue (Andrea Howard) who interrupt their wedding anniversary dinner to visit the disco at Sue’s insistence.
Dave is not thrilled about visiting the club, especially when the owner, Tony Di Marco (Jeff Goldblum) takes an interest in his wife. Dave then ends up attracting the attention of a kooky dental hygienist (Marya Small) with a pocket full of pills.
Frannie (Valerie Landsburg) and Jeannie (Terri Nunn – lead singer of Berlin) are a pair of underaged teenagers trying to sneak into the club and win the dance contest, while klutzy Jennifer (Debra Winger) and her friend struggle to find male companionship.
Ray Vitte plays DJ Bobby Speed, DeWayne Jessie (Otis Day from Animal House) is a hapless roadie for The Commodores, and Debra Winger has several moments of physical comedy here, in only her second film appearance.
Though the film, whose New York premiere was on 19 May 1978, performed poorly at the box office, the album proved to be one of the year’s biggest sellers, shifting more than 1.5 million copies.
The 32-song, 3 record (2 LPs and a bonus single) soundtrack release showed just how infectious disco music could be.