Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: The Beach Girls

Synopsis: Three girls head out for wild fun in the sun at an uncle's beach house. But when the party gets over the top, what will happen when the uncle finds out?

Review: The early 80's was a golden age for the teen sex comedy. It was a veritable cottage industry. Some were cute and clever, others were bland and boring. "The Beach Girls" falls somewhere in-between. 

The plot revolves around three girls, who've just gotten out of school for the summer. Two of the girls are world-wise party-goers who attempt to loosen up their naive, virginal friend, as they stay at her uncle's beach house. It's non-stop partying, from picking up a middle-aged hitchhiker, to booze and drug fueled nights, the girls are gonna have fun! But what happens when the uncle finally shows up? Oh, the suspense is killing me! 

Well, no, not really. Most of this stuff is by-the-numbers sex comedy formula. The jokes, the puns, the gags, are all pretty much the standard fare you'd expect. Debra Blee (who plays the virginal Sarah) is, oddly enough, more attractive than her two wild child friends (played by Val Kline and Jeana Keough), which was a nice little change from how most films like this go. But the hitchhiker who becomes Sarah's love interest (played by James Daughton), who is supposed to be a hip and laid back young musician-type, just looks too old to play this role. It's one of the ways the film misfires and takes you out of the moment. The scene where a young cop shows up during the party and almost immediately gets sucked into the shenanigans is another example of that. It just comes off as silly and forced, taking you out of the story, which might be the point, but the tongue-in-cheek humor just isn't delivered convincingly enough for you not to notice it. And the whole sub-plot, involving the drug smugglers and Coast Guard just feels completely out of place. And lastly, Sarah's transformation from "upright do-right," to femme fatale, happens so fast, you might get whiplash as you watch it.

That isn't to say the film doesn't have some good points. The film has a nice bit of skin on display, so flesh fiends will get what they crave. The debauchery is certainly wild and crazy throughout the film, with a few raunchy scenes to spice things up more. The Coast Guard's raid near the film's end, as they go through the house to uncover where all the drugs have been hidden, is chuckle-worthy. And there is some great comic relief with the gardener (played by Bert Rosario) throughout the film and it gets especially good when he gets teamed up with the limo driver (played by George Cheung). Their antics in a fight sequences are actually pretty funny.

In the final analysis, "The Beach Girls" is a mediocre effort, that never tries to play up that it is anything more than a teen sex comedy. It's lack of pretentiousness about itself gives it a certain amount charm. But it is very repetitive and the jokes and gags wear a little thin by the end. The misfires grow as the film goes on, but it never takes anything too seriously. And that might be why it isn't more enjoyable. It's a fluffy and light-hearted 80's romp, to be sure, and fans of cult classic 80's cheese might enjoy this, but it isn't one that will stick with you after you've viewed it. Just like footprints in the sand, the film's impression is not one that will last for long. Much like how summer never does! 

Rating: 2 Stars (our of 4)

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