It's the late fifties in this Florida county, and a group of high school students have one thing on their minds: if they're not trying to work out how to get it, they're working out how to play tricks on each other with that thing as the overriding theme. One of those is Pee Wee (Dan Monahan), who wakes up as he does every morning in a state of arousal, something he both has to hide from his mother when she enters his room to tell him to get up, and has to measure to find out how big he's getting - the answer to that being not very. If only he and his friends could get to Porky's strip bar, they feel their goals could be achieved...
When Porky's was unleashed on the world, never had the generation gap been more keenly felt, or that's what some would have you believe. Everyone over the age of, say, thirty or so was likely to see this as evidence of the downfall of Western civilisation, while the teens and twentysomethings thought, finally, something that gets the way we feel about sex just right. That was, as the source of endless jokes and lampooning, which was what writer and director Bob Clark was offering up, all based upon the experiences of his youth and those of his contemporaries. To his dying day he would defend this film against its legion of critics, after all it was the most successful Canadian production of all time for decades.
But was it really as revolutionary as all that? There is little doubt that it influenced the spate of racy comedies that arrived after, starting a trend that proved most lucrative for low budget filmmakers looking to make easy money, even more than the then-current strain of slasher movies. And even now, this type of movie manages to make money, but the truth was while there were better variations of Porky's to be made, there were plenty that were easily as bad. For if you watch it today, the feeling is less than it was genuinely funny, and more that at the time young people would laugh at any dirty joke they heard - there was nothing worse socially than admitting you didn't get it.
The opening twenty minutes or so set the scene, as our group of heroes are set up for what they think is a sure thing, losing their virginity to prostitute Cherry Forever (Susan Clark - some were surprised to see the actress in these circumstances), only for it to be revealed they are the butt of a practical joke. Over and over again the same damn thing happens, one or more of the characters is humiliated and the others gather around chortling - was there ever a collection of people more amused by their own jokes than the cast of Porky's? It's as if the director was worried that nobody would find this funny enough, so compensated by having the laughter provided by the actors.
Yet there is a serious side to the film that is often overlooked, as for some reason Clark thought his blue humour would be ideally offset by a sombre examination of racism. One of the boys, Tim (Cyril O'Reilly), is a bigot and takes it out on the Jewish member (Scott Colomby) of the circle of friends, which we then discover is because he is influenced by his criminal father who is abusive towards him. This subplot received a surprising amount of screen time, and you can see why most chose to ignore it when the question of why Kim Cattrall's gym teacher should be nicknamed Lassie was of a more pressing concern to the target audience. So really what you recall about this would be the shower scene or the giant condom, the basic humour that captured the imagination of the time, although now you'll be hoping for the characters to stop laughing so much and get on with the plot of getting back at the bar that victimised the boys. An important film, but not a very good one. Music by Paul Zaza and Carl Zittrer.
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.