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  Porky's II: The Next Day Fifties FrolicsBuy this film here.
Year: 1983
Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Dan Monahan, Wyatt Knight, Mark Herrier, Roger Wilson, Cyril O'Reilly, Tony Ganios, Kaki Hunter, Scott Colomby, Nancy Parsons, Joseph Runningfox, Eric Christmas, Bill Wiley, Edward Winter, Cisse Cameron, Ilse Earl, Art Hindle, Anthony Pena, Rod Ball
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Teenage Pee Wee (Dan Monahan) wakes up this morning in the nineteen-fifties finally feeling like a man, because he lost his virginity last night, which was pretty eventful in other ways too. One thing though: his usual morning erection is nowhere to be seen, in fact now he has supposedly matured there appears to have been an unintentional effect on his manhood; fortunately, one look at his copy of National Geographic's African tribeswomen article gets him back to normal, though his yodelling doesn't impress his mother. Once at school, his friends are keen to rib him, as is the girl he was seduced by, Wendy (Kaki Hunter), but pranks as ever are the order of the day...

Are they ever. Porky's the year before this had been a huge hit around the world, especially on video where its shower scene could be much-rewound, as all the while the more conservative tastemakers threw their hands up in horror that something so crass could be enjoyed by so many - so many kids, really. But the writer and director Bob Clark, while welcoming his success, was not entirely happy, the reason being he had intended his comedy to both represent his memories of school accurately and smuggle in some of his social commentary with a subplot about anti-racism that every critic missed. In his mind, something had to be done about that.

Thus, when he was pressured to make a Porky's II, there were conditions he imposed on both himself and the studio backing him. First, they had to fund his festive comedy reminiscence A Christmas Story, and second, he wanted to make his targeting of the prejudiced and hypocritical all the more obvious, the latter in his sights after suffering at the hands of their prudery which he did not like one bit. The plot, then, not featuring Porky, was threefold, one strand taking on the Klu Klux Klan, another the religious right, and third the shady politicians who pose as morally upright when they are actually as sleazy as those two other groups. Quite a lot on his plate then, and not what the fans wanted.

Well, not all the fans, as there are those who appreciated Clark's crusade and even those who thought this was funnier than the first, never mind the third in the series, but the general reaction to this sequel was they preferred the original. The prank-based storylines were once again uppermost, as characters humiliated each other and fell about laughing, though this time around we were moved to decide the butt of the jokes were far more deserving than some high school kids trying to get laid. Nevertheless, Pee Wee was featured in one setpiece in a graveyard with a hooker disguised as a librarian (don't ask) which also harked back to Clark and his co-writer Alan Ormsby's work in their early zombie effort Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things.

All that aside, for most of the running time this was about establishing who were the real enemies in society, those hypocrites who pose as decent citizens while getting up to all sorts of unpleasant crimes (or watching pornography if you were a Reverend). The preacher character rallies his flock into protesting about Shakespeare, leading to a deeply unsubtle scene where he and the principal trade quotes from the Bard and the Bible as evidence against the other's arguments. But who said any of this had to be subtle? The Seminole characters (led by Joseph Runningfox who has a part in the school play) were backed by our crude heroes, who used their powers of dubiousness for good this time as they punish the KKK, Wendy showed up the corrupt Commissioner, and the preacher was revealed as a pervert. It was curiously satisfying, but you had to say it wasn't that funny, aside from the occasional line or shot, but fair play to Clark for trying something different and making his actual intentions clearer. Music by Carl Zittrer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Bob Clark  (1941 - 2007)

American born, Canadian-based writer, producer and director with a varied career, he rarely stopped working in the industry from his 1970s horror Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things onwards, with cult classics like chiller Deathdream, Black Christmas (the first of the North American slasher cycle), Murder by Decree (a Sherlock Holmes mystery), sex comedy Porky's and its sequel, and A Christmas Story (a cult comedy that has become a seasonal favourite) all winning fans. He was responsible for such derided films as Rhinestone and the Baby Geniuses movies as well. At the time of his death in a car crash he was working on a remake of ...Dead Things.

 
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