Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 336 - Revenge of the Nerds

Revenge of Nerds (1984) directed by Jeff Kanew

There would be no American Pie without Revenge of the Nerds, one of the original teenage raunch comedies. Of course there would be no American Pie 14: Sorority Chicks Visit Middle School and Nerds Invade the Playboy Mansion or the any of the slew of crap over the years either but that is besides the point. What separates Revenge of the Nerds and American Pie from the cheap imitators (and unfortunately their own sequels) is a sense of heart that makes the film more than just immature boys thinking about boobies. Instead they tell stories of boys becoming men, not through sexual realization but through simply growing up. At its very core, they are coming of age stories that use boobs as window dressing. I'll just get this out of the way first though. Revenge of the Nerds is not as good or funny as American Pie, though I can imagine the kids from the 80's must have felt the same way about this movie as I did in the 90's with AP.

The title for Revenge of the Nerds tells you basically everything you need to know about the film. Sometimes I like titles like these so I know exactly what I'm getting into when I watch it unlike say the super ambiguous title John Carter. A couple of nerds are new to college where they find themselves being mercilessly picked on by the jocks and scorned by the hot sorority girls. The nerds try to form their own fraternity but when the Alpha Beta frat and Pi sorority makes life hell for them, they enact their revenge. This means some sabotaging pranks on the guys and some panty raiding of the girls. It is a typical teenage raunch comedy that we have all grown accustomed to. Imagine a geekier version of Animal House.

A couple of quick comments though. The character of Booger is an obvious rip off of Jim Belushi's character in Animal House which kind of begs the question, how is this guy a nerd? Also, what is it about 80's comedies and their portrayals of Asians? Another typical token Asian character here. The sexual pranks are kind of goofy and meant to be harmless, but if you really thought about these scenes, you'd realize it is borderline sexual predator rape stuff!

Anyways, Revenge of the Nerds is sort of a standard comedy but has enough heart to turn it from mediocre to pleasantly enjoyable.

Grade: B-

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