Directed By: Rafal Zielinski
Starring: Peter Keleghan, Kent Deuters, Linda Speciale
Tag line: "The nuts who always score!"
Trivia: Director Rafal Zielinski has said that he approached the film like it was a live action cartoon
Screwballs is a 1983 Canadian teen sex comedy directed by Rafal Zielinski and co-written by Linda Shayne (who, among other things, played Miss Salmon in 1980’s Humanoids from the Deep) and Jim Wynorski (the director of Chopping Mall). Set in the 1960s, the film introduces us to a group of five buddies from Taft & Adams High School (T&A… get it?): ladies’ man Rick McKay (Peter Keleghan); wealthy socialite (and all-around horndog) Brent Van Dusen III (Kent Deuters); transfer student Tim Stevenson (Jim Coburn); nerdy science geek Howie Bates (Alan Deveau); and overweight cafeteria volunteer (not to mention chronic masturbator) Melvin Jerkofski (Jason Warren).
While serving an afternoon in detention (for offenses ranging from fondling the breasts of freshman girls to jerking off in a meat locker), the five pals make a pact that, by the time homecoming rolls around, one of them will have caught a glimpse of Taft & Adams’ resident virgin, Purity Busch (Linda Speciale), in the nude. Even with the school’s uptight principle, Mr. Stuckoff (Donnie Bowes), watching them like a hawk, the quintet try time and again to complete their daunting task, but as the days wear on, it’s clear they’re gonna need a miracle, or at least one hell of an intricate plan, to pull it off.
Unlike Porky’s and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (both of which were released the previous year), Screwballs is a straight-up comedy assault, ignoring things like character development and even its own already-simplistic plot to instead focus on what an ‘80s audience wanted, namely lots of nudity and a plethora of over-the-top sex jokes. That said, the film is far from a laugh-riot. In fact, I think I laughed twice: once when Howie manipulated the school’s hallway mirrors to look up girls skirts as they walked down the stairs, and again when the friends buried one of their own on the beach, in the hopes he’d get a clear view of Purity’s chest while she sunbathed. There are a few other moments here and there that made me smile, but for the most part I had more fun with the ‘80s nostalgia that Screwballs conjured up than I did with the movie itself.
Still, it’s kinda hard to trash a film like Screwballs because it’s so damned earnest; hardly a moment goes by where the movie isn’t trying to make us laugh. Sure, it fails about 90% of the time, but even if you aren’t happy with the results, you gotta admire the effort.