Oh Canada Oh Canada you forgot to wear a bra…
Screwballs (1983): 5 out of 10: Screwballs is a very good natured movie that is very silly. Screwballs has a lot of Rube Goldberg type distractions whose purpose is to get the main lust object Purity Bush naked. Think Porky’s without the historical accuracy.
The Good: Well, it is a sex comedy from the early eighties. (One of the online sources had the movie erroneously listed as from 2003 instead of 1983, but about five minutes of viewing made that error very clear even though the film takes place in 1965). So we get the benefits of what that implies.
Plenty of well lit and attractive nudity? Check. Realistic and effective sex scenes? Surprisingly, yes, check. Plenty of high-jinks from the neanderthal age. Double Check.
This isn’t just a movie about a few horny teenagers at a high school. Everyone in the movie, male and female, is horny. They are having sex in the halls. One of the things that keeps the high-jinks light is the girls are just as interested in getting naked and having sex as the boys.
The Bad: Okay, so what is with the five out of ten score? Plenty of attractive nudity in an early eighties comedy. This seems right in my wheelhouse. Have I grown up? Have I become suddenly so mature that such material is beneath me?
Okay two things: First there is a problem with the movies plot and character motivation. I know this is a Canadian sex comedy from 1983 called Screwballs where the principal object of lust is named Purity Bush and they go to T and A high school. Walk down this road with me. The movie comprises the high jinks of five teenage boys trying to get laid. So far, so standard. The problem is they have no trouble getting laid. Every woman in the film (Sans one) is doing nothing but having sex with them. They literally cannot go from one class to another without a hot science teacher taking one of them into a back room. It is a movie about a starving man at an all you can eat buffet.
Second: There is one good scene (The drive-in) and a couple of adequate scenes (The Freshman breast examination scene simply because the girl is so cute and the bowling alley scene due to the sheer volume of craziness and fun)
Everything else is just painfully unfunny and seems to go on forever. There is a lot of watch checking while viewing Screwballs. The first forty-five minutes is one very unfunny gag after another. A bad thriller or horror movie can certainly be entertaining, even if it does not thrill or horrify. Even a bad drama can be entertaining if it is unintentionally funny (The Room is an obvious choice here, but I would like to nominate a dark horse candidate The Circle)
A bad comedy, however, is simply painful (Don’t believe me? Take a seat here while I introduce you to my friend Caddyshack II. Don’t be a fool, of course I have locked the doors. No one can help you now. Tell me where the codes are or I push play.)
The Ugly: The climax of the movie (Pardon any unintentional pun) is of course, Purity Bush getting her comeuppance for being the only member of the student body with any morals or self-control. The movie drops this ball so badly I almost think it was intentional. As if the director or producer became engaged to actress Linda Speciale and decided the new mother of their child could not be treated as such. Not since Kate Beckinsale’s sex scene in Underworld Evolution have I seen such obvious directorial interference. (The culprit there was Kate’s then husband Len Wiseman who directed Scott Speedman to copulate with her navel)
So the reveal is done from a far distance at a bad camera angle with the credits rolling over the shot. Boo. Boo.
In Conclusion: Screwballs has some fun bits and it was not an overall unpleasant experience. I am glad I watched it. Alas, I cannot really recommend it though. Painfully unfunny for some pretty long stretches, Screwballs can test one patience. Best watched with the fast-forward button at the ready.