Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1984. Twentieth Century Fox, Interscope Communications, Zacharias-Buhai Productions. Story by Tim Metcalfe, Miguel Tejada-Flores, Steve Zacharias, Jeff Buhai, Screenplay by Steve Zacharias, Jeff Buhai. Cinematography by King Baggot. Produced by Ted Field, Peter Samuelson, Steve Zacharias. Music by Thomas Newman. Production Design by James L. Schoppe. Costume Design by Eddie Marks. Film Editing by Alan Balsam.
The surprise hit of the 1980s with a secretly subversive agenda; anyone who saw Hope Davis’s deconstruction of the film in American Splendor will have to admit that this is as much an attack on the values of eighties teen movies as it is an indulgence in them. A couple of loveable dweebs (Anthony Edwards, Robert Carradine) show up for their first day of college prepared to change the world with their brilliance. They are instead met with opposition from the school’s jocks who proceed to make their lives in their new fraternity a living hell. Our heroes decide that being the butt of all jokes is no longer their bag, and take roads both high and low in order to stake their claim of legitimacy on campus: they make all efforts necessary to get their fraternity chartered, but are not above a midnight panty raid either. It’s got plenty of elements to blanche the sensibilities of modern audiences, including far too much exploitative female nudity and more than a few politically incorrect jokes, but there is something gleefully rebellious about the fact that the character stereotypes who are marginalized and abused in other movies of the era are here being made the stars. Its main flaw, surprisingly, is that it is only periodically funny.