HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Friday, September 11, 2009

SCREWBALLS -- DVD review by porfle

Legendary schlock producer Roger Corman charged Jim Wynorski and Linda Shayne to write a low-budget teen sex comedy that would cash in on the then-current craze exemplified by highly-profitable crap like PORKY'S and THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN. The movie they came up with, SCREWBALLS (1983), is an even wilder, crappier, and more bizarre goof on such films that actually turned out to be some kind of trash classic.

Shamelessly stupid, cheerfully nonsensical, and aggressively inept, SCREWBALLS doesn't even make the slightest effort to take itself as seriously as those other two stupid movies that I mentioned or most of the others like them. In fact, it has more in common with the spoofy spirit of NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE than any of its contemporaries. It might also fit comfortably on a double bill with ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL as long as it's on the bottom.

Wynorski and Shayne were told by Corman to watch some other films of this genre, pick out the elements that made them work, and throw them all together into one mindless melange. Thus, the story takes place at a wacky high school (Taft Adams, or "T & A") filled with horny teen stereotypes and teachers who are either cartoonishly tight-assed or wantonly oversexed. There's also an abundance of hot cheerleaders and other babes who have trouble keeping their tops on, including the comically cute Shayne as "Bootsie Goodhead." Rest assured, the booby count in this movie is sky high.

Five hormonally-hyper guys--Rick the jock, Brent the rich kid, Tim the shy one, Howie the nerd, and Melvin Jerkovski, the chronic masturbator--are obsessed with the school's last remaining virgin, the beautiful Purity Busch (Linda Speciale), devising all sorts of devious methods to try and see her naked. A nocturnal visit to Purity's house finds her humping her teddy bear in her sleep while in the next room, Purity's sexually-frustrated mother implores her impotent husband with: "Ward, I'm worried about the beaver."

Brainy nerd Howie uses his vast intellect to come up with ingenious methods of looking up girls' skirts or hypnotizing them into wanting to have sex with him, which invariably backfire in strange ways. The latter episode climaxes with a gym class full of bikini-clad girls lurching toward him en masse like robots and then trying to kill him.

Meanwhile, Rick the jock manages to cop plenty of feels by posing as a doctor on "Breast Exam Day" and a female dressmaking teacher measuring her students' bust sizes. Not so successful is Melvin's scheme to have himself buried under the same patch of sand where Purity sunbathes every day and peer at her cleavage through a soda-can periscope.
I don't know why, but my favorite sequence is the part where the guys and the girls challenge each other to a game of "Strip Bowling." It's just a bunch of high-spirited nonsense that's as stupid as it sounds and ends with a bowling ball being lodged on part of Howie's anatomy. Another highlight is a visit to a strip club that features generously-endowed guest star Raven De La Croix doing an old-fashioned burlesque routine. Everything comes to a head on the night of the big homecoming dance, where Howie unleashes his last-ditch attempt to scientifically remove Purity's clothing once and for all.

The DVD is in 1.66:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Transferred from the best available print, the film looks about the way it might if you caught it on late-night television. Bonus features include a commentary by director Rafal Zielinski, deleted and alternate scenes, a theatrical trailer, and interviews with Zielinski, Shayne and Wynorski, star Kent Deuters (Brent), and SPFX artist Gerald Lukaniuk. Canuxsploitation scholar Paul Corupe discusses the film in the context of Canada's teen sex film boom of the 80s, while "Mr. Skin" and "McBeardo" of internet fame wax enthusiastic about SCREWBALLS' contribution to the cause of onscreen boobage.

SCREWBALLS is so harmlessly dumb that the main characters come off as much more likable than the leering lechers and salacious sluts trying to out-raunch each other in PORKY'S and other such films. It's just the kind of flick you'd expect to see on USA's "Up All Night" back in the good old days (Rhonda Shear would fit right in) along with other low-rent Canadian sex romps like HEAVY METAL SUMMER (aka STATE PARK), MEATBALLS III, and the rest of the illustrious "Balls" series--but with all the nudity gloriously intact. While containing the same basic elements as the smuttier, filthier, and lewder teen flicks of its era, SCREWBALLS is just too blithely stupid to be anything but good-natured fun.

Buy it at

Read our review of the sequel LOOSE SCREWS: SCREWBALLS II




Robbblog said...

Glad to finally see this classic on DVD...long overdue

Robbblog said...

Glad to finally see this 80s classic on DVD, i can finally retire that big box Warner Bros VHS.