Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#2,059. Porky's (1982)

Directed By: Bob Clark

Starring: Dan Monahan, Mark Herrier, Wyatt Knight

Tag line: "The RAUNCHIEST Movie about growing up ever made!"

Trivia: Bob Clark stated in the 2006 DVD commentary that he used his real life High School and College experience as the basis for various characters

Without actually doing the research, I feel safe in saying that Bob Clark’s Porky’s didn’t make any critic’s Top 10 list in 1982. In fact, some pundits downright hated the movie, and for the life of me I can’t understand why. Yes, the film took teen comedies in a bawdy new direction by featuring characters who were obsessed with getting laid, but none were as one-dimensional as that sounds. Besides, Porky’s has some flat-out hilarious sequences, and not nearly as much nudity as its promotional material would lead you to believe.

It’s the 1950’s, and six young men from southern Florida’s Angel Beach High School, namely Pee Wee (Dan Monahan), Tommy (Wyatt Knight), Mickey (Roger Wilson), Meat (Tony Ganios), Billy (Mark Herrier) and Tim (Cyril O’Reilly), have one thing on their mind: sex! Pee Wee in particular is horny as hell; according to school gossip, he’s so anxious to score that, on the off chance he’d get lucky, he slipped a rubber on before his date with Wendy (Kaki Hunter), the school’s most promiscuous girl (Wendy was so offended that she left Pee_Wee high and dry). When a planned trip to the home of Cherry Forever (Susan Clark), a local prostitute, turns out to be little more than a well-planned gag, a frustrated Pee Wee suggests that they visit an Everglades bar called "Porky’s", where rumor has it the owner, Porky (Chuck Mitchell), will set you up with a “professional” woman for only $30.

Alas, the trip to Porky’s proves just as fruitless; instead of getting them laid, Porky took the teens’ money, then made them the butt of yet another practical joke. Angry that he and his friends were ripped off, Mickey drives out to "Porky’s" later that night, and again a few days later to get their money back, but is beaten up each time by Porky and his brother (Alex Karras), who happens to be the local Sheriff. To get even, Pee Wee, Tommy and the others, with the help of new student Brian Schwartz (Scott Colomby) and Mickey’s policeman brother (Art Hindle), devise a plan that will make Porky sorry he ever met them.

That’s the main plot of Porky’s, but there’s a lot more to the movie than that, like the daily trips to the girls shower, where Pee Wee, Tommy, and Billy peer through peep holes in the hopes of seeing some naked flesh; and assistant basketball coach Brakett’s (Boyd Gaines) attempt to find out why workout instructor Miss Lynn Honeywell (a young Kim Cattrall), is nicknamed “Lassie”. To be honest, I enjoyed the side stories more than I did the Porky’s / revenge tale. Even the film’s best scene had nothing to do with Porky; while spying on the girls as they shower, Tommy shoves a rather delicate piece of his anatomy through a hole in the wall, drawing the attention of the humorless coach Beulah Balbricker (Nancy Parsons), who, after trying to grab hold of the… ahem… “appendage”, storms into the Principles office with a suggestion as to how they can “identify” the intruder (her idea is so outlandish that the boys’ basketball coaches, sitting in the background, can’t stop laughing).

But Porky’s isn’t all fun and games. Along the way, the movie tackles a few social issues as well, including anti-Semitism and child abuse, and while the main characters do enjoy pranking each other, their friendship is strong, and on a number of occasions we see what happens when an outsider messes with one of them (whether it be Porky or Tim’s ex-con father, played by Wayne Maunder). Unfortunately, most critics overlooked these aspects and instead focused on the main character’s preoccupation with sex. Perhaps the most unfair criticism leveled against the movie was made by Roger Ebert, who said that Porky’s “hates women”. Sure, the cast is male-centric, but in every scene in which they appear, the ladies hold their own against the guys (Kaki Hunter’s Wendy wins several rounds of her practical joke war with Pee Wee, and Cherry Forever, well played by Candy Clark, is the one in control for the majority of her short scene). And despite what you might think, there are only three sequences with nudity, the first of which features just the guys (during their brief visit to Cherry Forever’s, most of them strip down to their birthday suits).

Don’t get me wrong: Porky’s is, from start to finish, a raunchy comedy, and is definitely not for the kiddies (in addition to the nudity, there’s plenty of talk about sex, and a scene with Coach Brackett and Miss Honeywell in the men’s locker room gets a bit.. well… “heated”). But to say the film has no redeeming qualities simply isn’t true. Porky’s may not be art, but it isn’t total trash either.


Wendell Ottley said...

Thank you! This is one of my all-time faves. That shower scene is the second best in the history of cinema, only behind the one in Psycho. And the scene you referenced featuring Coach Brackett and Miss Honeywell (a young Kim Cattrall) cracks me up every time I see it. Great review.

Chip Lary said...

I've enjoyed the hell out of this every time I've watched it, from the first time in a drive in to just a couple years ago when I took the DVD off my shelf and saw it again. I agree that this is more than just a teen sex comedy. And it always amused me after American Pie came out when teens were exclaiming "Now THIS is a raunchy comedy!". I'd always think, "you need to see Porky's."

And for what it's worth, the actress playing Mrs. Balbricker deserves some kind of award for not breaking character during the minutes long scene in the principal's office where the other three are laughing their asses off. It's one uninterrupted shot and she never even starts to smile. I don't know how many times I've watched that scene and it still makes me laugh my ass off every time.