Say what you will about the quality of Sean S. Cunningham’s filmmaking, the man knew how to make a buck in the 80s. And unlike many of his less scrupulous contemporaries, he actually delivered what he promised. Friday the 13th was not simply a Halloween rip-off relying on its marketing to make a profit, it gave its audience what it wanted. Cunningham did not limit himself to horror. He genre-hopped all over the place. In 1983, he gifted the world a boob-filled teen sex comedy bonanza…
USA, 1983, Sean S. Cunningham
Nelson and Adam are excited about the unhinged, beer-guzzling holiday they’re about to embark on. They arrive at their hotel, filled to the brim with semi-naked people, and set up shop in their room. All seems good until two jock hunks — Stu (Paul Land) and O.T. (Steve Bassett) — appear in their room. The two sets of friends are victims of double-booking. Stu quickly strips down to a pair of tiny speedos to lay claim to the room.
In an 80s comedy of this ilk, you’d expect the nerds to be relentlessly bullied or booted out by the invading jocks. But not only does this not happen, Nelson, Adam, Stu and O.T. become instant best pals and minutes later are partaking in one of the film’s many joyous montages. This montage includes beer drinking through a straw, a subsequent bathroom trip where the four of them pee into a single toilet, a photo booth session, and harassing women. O.T. competes in a belly-flop contest where his new buds cheer him on as he battles an uncredited Jeff Garlin and his pasty white ass. Yes, that’s Jeff Garlin playing a character called “Gut Gut”.
Taking a break from steamy homoeroticism, Stu and O.T. pick up two lovely ladies with “Playboy tits” and engage in some screaming loveless sex while Nelson and Adam excitedly watch before crawling to the bathroom in their underwear to lament their bad luck with women.
Outside of this sexy pick up, Stu seems more interested in staring at himself in the mirror. And O.T. finds himself enamored with the sexy singer of a local band.
Nelson and Adam can’t understand why their jock pals are so good with the ladies. They attempt to copy their style. Adam discovers that getting dangerously drunk and shouting at women during a wet t-shirt contest is a surefire way to find yourself in a three-way.
Nelson, meanwhile, tries his luck at impressing a girl (Jayne Modean) with his arcade game skills. Being that Spring Break is set in a teenage masturbatory fantasy world, it works.
This is an 80s teen comedy, so there has to be a sprinkling of trouble in paradise. In the case of Spring Break, it comes in the form of Nelson’s piece of shit step-dad (Donald Symington) and a scummy guy (Richard B. Shull) who wants to close down the hotel the spring breakers are staying at. There’s some kidnapping and bribery, but it’s nothing a few punches, a pie in the face, and public humiliation can’t solve.
The only other form of conflict appears when Nelson accidentally pisses on an alligator and it rips his pants off in retaliation. This unintentional act of animal abuse ends up assisting Nelson in losing his virginity… so thanks, alligator.
Spring Break is relentless tits, beer swilling, tanning lotion, and urinating, but it lacks the malice and unsettling perversion that appears in most other 80s sex comedies. The male leads refrain from tricking women into taking their clothes off, like in say Loose Screws (1985). And its sleaziness never goes into Porky’s (1982) territory.
Distilled sleaze withstanding, everything is filtered through that special sort of hedonistic lens that ceased to exist once the 90s rolled by. Most characters spend the film soaked in alcohol, both inside and out. Hangovers only exist at breakfast. The audio pumps out track after track of songs that are so 80s it’s almost as if they’re taking the piss. Everyone is intent on having fun and nothing more. Spring Break is the perfect 80s teen sex comedy, and I love the shit out of it.
Spring Break is available on DVD from Anchor Bay. The print is very clean and the audio is great.