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  Spring Break Hit The Beach
Year: 1983
Director: Sean S. Cunningham
Stars: David Knell, Perry Lang, Paul Land, Steve Bassett, Jayne Modean, Corinne Alphen, Richard B. Shull, Jessica James, Daniel Farrado, Donald Symington, Mimi Cozzens, John Archie, Robert Small, Fred Buch, Markus T. Pellicori, Nikki Fritz, Ru Flynn, Jeff Garlin
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's Spring Break at Florida's Fort Lauderdale, and two young gentlemen, Nelson (David Knell) and Adam (Perry Lang) have arrived there by taxi with high hopes, which are only made higher when they see how much skin there is on display at the beach. However, the matter remains as to how many of those lovely ladies they are able to get close to, which given they are far from the strapping chaps parading around is a point of contention. Nevertheless, they check in at the hotel where they have reservations, though seem to hit a snag in that their room has not been cleared since the former occupants were there, and there's worse to come: they place has been double booked with the party hard Stu (Paul Land) and O.T. (Steve Bassett).

Fortunately, that duo are decent sorts, and that was what marked out Spring Break, not to be confused with Spring Breakers of thirty years later, for this may have been a work in a genre which was happy to aim for the lowest common denominator and miss - the eighties sex comedy - but there was something about it far more likeable than many of its contemporaries. It was directed by the economically-minded Sean S. Cunningham who had struck gold with slasher hit Friday the 13th three years before, but the idea with this was not to bump off the cast of bright young things (who were not as young as they would like us to think) but to set them on the path of fun, and lots of it.

It was as if the Cunningham and his cast were happy to leave the obnoxious qualities of the groundbreaking Porky's and its ilk behind and actually offer up characters the audience were supposed to find perfectly amiable, and hope for the best for them: when Nelson loses his bearings and cannot find the hotel room of the girl he has been waiting for all his life, it's a genuine shame rather than an invitation to sneer at him. Sure, the jokes were not up to much, although the punchline to the business involving the trouser-eating alligator raised a good laugh, but you didn't mind so much when everyone you were watching was so invested in enjoying themselves, and taking you along for the ride. Plus it was an equal opportunities bawdy romp: sure, you had a wet T-shirt contest for the girls to participate in, but also a wet "He-shirt" (!) one for the blokes.

There was an abundance of that incredibly eighties editing decision, the montage set to rock and/or pop music (Cheap Trick!), seemingly to pack in as many shots of the extras in their swimwear as possible, though you couldn't blame Cunningham for trying to keep things visually engaging in that time honoured fashion when it was what was expected of the genre. But there was an element of romance, so that it was not having it off as often as possible that was the goal, not for Nelson anyway, who stumbles across Susie (eighties model Jayne Modean) playing an arcade game and finds they click quite promisingly. O.T. also unexpectedly finds true love with singer of notably basic rock lyrics Joan, who was played by Penthouse Pet Corinne Alphen (oddly, neither of these models disrobed for the camera).

On a sadder note, there was another reason Spring Break was recalled past the essential teen comedy nature of it all, and that was one of the bit part actresses, one Tammy Lynn Leppert. She was hoping to become a star of the decade, and at eighteen years old had made progress by appearing in Brian De Palma's Scarface remake, plus this, where she had an uncredited role as a comical boxer. By the time this had been out three months, Tammy had disappeared, making for one of the most notorious missing persons cases of the era, with a few theories as to why she vanished off the face of the Earth but nothing conclusive. For that reason, Spring Break has been sought after by those wondering what she looked like in it, in spite of her barely having a minute's screen time. If you can put that to the back of your mind, then you would be rewarded with what is now a nice nostalgia piece, an item of eighties ephemera which can evoke memories, or illustrate what it was like to those who were not there. Nothing hilarious, but well played for all that, constant beer plugs aside. Music by Harry Manfredini.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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