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Saturday, August 7, 2010


I never thought I'd compare a film unfavorably to SCREWBALLS, but I must make an exception in the case of its inferior sequel, LOOSE SCREWS: SCREWBALLS II (1985).  Not that it's really all that much worse--is that even possible?--but it just doesn't quite reach the same level of utter, gibbering, cheerful stupidity as the original Canuck-sploitation classic, which was its best quality.  However, it's still pretty damn stupid, and if you liked that about the first one, get ready for more of the same.

The main characters are still a bunch of extremely sex-crazed and psychotically immoral high school perverts who, at this rate, will end up in prison or dead within a couple of years.  At least, I sincerely hope so.  They have different names this time, but that's just an excuse for the writers to come up with more gag monikers like Brad Lovett, Steve Hardman, Marvin Eatmore, and Hugh G. Rection.  One of the main guys from the last film has been dumped, and two are played by different actors, but trust me, it really doesn't matter. 

Our fun-loving heroes have so thoroughly failed in their studies that their beseiged principal, Mr. Hardbutt, orders them to attend Coxwell Academy over the summer in order to qualify to graduate.  They've been there about five seconds before they (a) antagonize their new principal, Mr. Arsenault, and (b) become fixated on seeing their sexy French teacher, Miss Mona Lott, naked.  Driving the former out of his gourd and getting the latter out of her clothes become their driving motivations in life for the rest of the movie, along with various other acts of perversion and terror.  Seriously, these guys need to be locked up--they're so irredeemably low-class they'd make Bluto from ANIMAL HOUSE vomit.

Their antics include pumping a chemical into the swimming pool which makes bikinis disintegrate, posing as doctors in order to administer breast exams to the cheerleaders (a holdover antic from the first film), and Peeping Tom-isms via bedroom windows and a loose ceiling panel over the girls' locker room, all accompanied by maniacal heavy-breathing and drooling.  Later, the guys skip out on their curfew to visit a strip club called the Pig Pen, where they manage to directly participate in a wet T-shirt contest followed by naked whipped cream festivities.

Brad, as "Bradine", infiltrates the girls' dorm in drag (he actually looks sorta cute, god help us) so that he can gleefully share their beds and bathtubs while avoiding the suspicions of their Teutonic overseer, Miss Hilda Von Blow.  Meanwhile, suave rich boy Steve has an affair with Mr. Arsenault's buxom wife and ends up falling out of a second-storey window when Arsenault (who's having an affair with Miss Lott) comes home unexpectedly.  And just to make sure the film's humor level doesn't get too sophisticated, we're treated to the sight of the sweatily obese Marvin wandering through an aerobics class and poking his head into various crotches like a dog.  You can just imagine Woody Allen kicking himself for not beating these guys to such comedy gold.

What distinguishes this from most other comedies is the fact that none of it is even remotely funny, nor do we get the impression that the filmmakers are even trying to be.  It's as though they're thinking: "PORKY'S [the gold standard for this type of movie] was stupid, so we'll just be ten times stupider."  The film does excell at getting a lot of mostly blah-looking girls (although a few are pretty hot) in various states of undress in front of the camera, and a few situations elicit a giggle or two in spite of themselves, but for the most part it's as drab and dull as those distinctively low-budget Canadian production values.

The script, which could've been written posthumously, is loaded with groan-inducing double-entendres delivered by actors with about as much finesse as Bob Goldthwaite trying to crack a safe.  For some strange reason I enjoyed the dry-as-a-bone performance of Mike MacDonald as Mr. Arsenault, even though he delivers both his talking and screaming lines with equal emphasis.  Everybody else is just awful--albeit in a strangely enthusiastic way--and none of the characters are anywhere near as appealing as SCREWBALLS' adorable Linda Shayne (who co-scripted both films) as "Bootsie Goodhead."

One of the film's dubious highlights is a beach party sequence that takes place on a dismal Canadian shore and actually features group choreography to one of the film's many bad-80s pop tunes entitled  "Do the Screw."  Topping things off is the climactic revenge sequence with the main characters wreaking havoc at the unveiling of a statue of the academy's esteemed founder--here, we get the usual public humiliation of all the authority figures (aided by clouds of marijuana smoke, explosions, and the statue coming to lecherous life) along with the long-awaited unveiling of Miss Lott and a weird fantasy ending with our heroes suddenly becoming a crappy techno-pop band like in REVENGE OF THE NERDS.

The DVD from Severin Films is in 1.78:1 widescreen and Dolby 2.0 with no subtitles.  Extras include a director's commentary with Rafal Zielinski, boring interviews with producer Maurice Smith and production manager Ken Gord, and the film's International Version (containing about eleven minutes of extra footage) presented in "Authentic VHS-Vision!", meaning that it's window-boxed and the print looks considerably worse.  (Which, in fact, does bring back memories of those old VHS rental tapes.)

LOOSE SCREWS: SCREWBALLS II is the sort of film you might imagine being shown on movie night in a brain-dead ward.  You might even feel like checking in yourself after seeing it.  But if you do happen to find yourself in the mood for this kind of entertainment--after all, a lot of us still wax nostalgic for the pixilated pleasures of USA's "Up All Night"--then by all means, pull the plug on your life-support machine and do the Screw into oblivion with Hugh G. Rection and his horny pals.

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