Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Revenge of the Nerds (Jeff Kanew, 1984)

I didn't think it was possible, but after all these years, Revenge of the Nerds remains to be a refreshing lump of mischief-infused idiocy. A dweeb-friendly tribute to social retardation and sexual dysfunction, this pocket-protector-enhanced triumph of the human spirit has a surprising amount of depth and pathos coursing through its flabby veins. Sure, its blood stream is also teeming with a plethora of dork stereotypes (they all wear glasses with thick frames and are proficient in the field of the cunnilingual arts), but the first film in this spastic series has a lot of heart and a pretty solid message to convey. Which may seem a tad hollow in today's geek chic universe (thanks to the likes of Sarah Vowell and Wes Anderson). However, back in the jock-centric era of 1984, this film's firm stance against homophobia, racism and ultra-nationalism was considered revolutionary. The film also just happens to be crudely hilarious. Thanks, in part, to the hygiene-free antics of Dudley "Booger" Dawson (a wonderfully unshaven Curtis Armstrong). Playing essentially the same character he played in Risky Business and Better Off Dead, Curtis brought a relaxed attitude to the proceedings that gave the film a much needed air of sleaziness. Though, I never did quite understand why Booger was classified as a nerd. You know because he didn't seem all that bright and his wardrobe had a disheveled hipness about it. Either way, his liberal use of the terms "douche bag" and "hair pie" not only broke new ground, but also managed to inspire countless others in the realm of filthiness.

In case you don't know, the tangled plot involves two bespectacled friends named Lewis Skolnick (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert Lowell (Anthony Edwards) and their apprehensive transition from high school to college. Where the socially inept duo are immediately met with scorn upon their arrival at the spacious campus of Adams College. Which strangely enough doesn't seem to have any classrooms (they do have a gymnasium, though).

Anyway, the two freshman are kicked out of their dormitory by the neo-fascists at Alpha Beta (a jock fraternity who's house is destroyed thanks to fire breathing mishap) and forced to live in the school's gym with a motley assemblage of weirdos and outcasts. This tight-knit group decides that enough is enough and resolves to fight back against the wily jocks, and get back their sense of nerd pride through the power of synthesized pop music (a totally awesome show-stopper that will no doubt appeal to fans of Devo, Kraftwerk and effeminate rap).

The pantie raid sequence ate rusty barbed wire in terms of all-out fun and frivolity. A spank-worthy escapade that is filled with an abundance of frilly underclothing and unrestrained squealing whilst running. Now, I've seen many cinematic pantie raids recently (Ghoulies 3: Ghoulies Go to College and Private School), but the one in Revenge of the Nerds rules over them all. The fluidity of the camera movement, the mortified shrieking, and the overall gaiety of the raid itself really meshed well together to create a titillating opus that somehow manages to transcend human existence.

The gorgeous Julia Montgomery is angelic as Betty Childs, the perky yet spiteful cheerleader/sociopath who wants to eradicate the nerd way of life via her spazz-enveloping thighs and bewitching stare. The extended shot of Montgomery's rosy-cheeked ass in a diaphanous pair of white panties is the gold standard when it comes to gratuitous butt shots. At any rate, bums aside, I liked the way Betty started to see the nerds as human beings as the film progressed. And, if you don't think about it at all, it's quite the touching transformation.

The party scene that featured the smoldering babes of Omega Mu was a pure adrenalin rush. I'd like to go through each Mu girl one by one and explain why they're so great, but that would take too long. Instead, I'll just say that the one's who got it on with Poindexter (Timothy Busfield) and Lewis were my favourite Mu girls.

Oh, and Michelle Meyrink (Valley Girl) is freaking enchanting as Judy, the Omega Mu with the most screen time. The way she says "I think robots are sexy" was downright adorable.


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