Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released in January, 1985
Directed by David Beaird
Written by David Beaird and Alan C. Fox
Cast: Matthew Causey, Timothy Carhart, Jerry Jones, Frank Galati, Robin Harlan, Suzanne Ashley, Frannie James, Leland Crooke, Lucy Roucis, Joan Dykman, Barbara Baylis, Billi Gordon
I’ve seen some awful movies in my time, but for one to earn a cellar-dwelling zero rating from me, it really, really, really has to stink up the joint; insult my intelligence, put me to sleep, offer nothing remotely substantial, and make me wish I’d never known of its existence in the first place. Up to this point, only two movies I’ve reviewed for this blog have earned that rare distinction, and both happen to be comedies: MacGruber and Here Come the Tigers. Now, I’m thrilled to say that those two have company, as another asinine and worthless duncefest, The Party Animal, has assumed its rightful place in filmdom’s ledger of the damned.
Normally I’m a fan of ’80s teen sex comedies, but this one was an unbearable exception, and truly sullied the genre’s good name. A twenty-something-year-old lunkhead—named Pondo Sinatra, of all things—literally arrives fresh off the farm in the back of a turnip truck to a small-town university, where instead of concentrating on his college education, he sets his sights on finding a sexy co-ed to help bring an end to his bothersome virginity status. And so begins a typically-plotted ‘guy tries to score at school’ story that, in atypical fashion, provided me with no entertainment value whatsoever, save for one strip poker scene whose existence is too lame-brained to be discussed.
That was it; the rest was about as misguided as this genre could offer, and that’s saying a lot, considering I’ve seen Weekend Pass, Jocks, and Hardbodies 2. The nutshell crux of it all was that, along with his worldly new friend Studly, Pondo stumbles upon a love potion that transforms him into a so-called ‘party animal’. More interesting was that the part of Pondo was played by newcomer Matthew Causey, in his only starring role; after an uncredited bit in My Chauffeur the following year, his acting career fizzled out, and he later became Dr. Matthew Causey, senior lecturer at the School of Drama, Film, and Music at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. And no, I’m not kidding.
Here, however, his character was about the goofiest-looking hero from a raunch comedy I’ve ever seen, and at times reminded me of a disheveled, half-wit Greg Kinnear; he joins Wendell from Fraternity Vacation as one of the most brain-damaged dweebs in cinema history. And speaking of damaged, the screenplay was nearly as impaired as its lead character: clichéd, overboard, and forced, with scattershot ideas that were sloppily constructed and stitched together, and locker-room dialogue I’m sure was meant to be funny and titillating, but instead came off as crass and overtly vulgar.
For these films to work, even in a silly and perhaps cheesy sort of way, they should not only be appealing, but include a somewhat realistic view of teen life, have characters you can identify with or pull for, and feature enough of that era’s songs, sights, and fashions to make any ’80s cynic feel nostalgic. I found none of those requirements here, and in the end the one question I kept asking myself was this: should I reward a perfectly dreadful teen comedy with a one-star rating simply because there were some fairly hot women on display, and the soundtrack featured a few catchy songs by the Buzzcocks? The answer, as you can clearly see, is no. (0/10)