In the 80’s, teen comedies were going by the dozens. While films such as Porky’s and Revenge of the Nerds made the A-list, dozens of independent labels released more straight to video fare usually achieving a more sense of rauchiness. This 1988 teen comedy is one of those that had the style of A-list standards but ended up on the B-list due to its unknown cast, yet an underrated 80’s comedy.
At Parkers Racquet Club, the summer has arrived and the staff has arrived to begin their jobs. Supervising the staff this year is UCLA senior Kathy Shields, who knows three of the returning staff members. The returnees include Bob, who has been wanting to be with Kathy since they worked together; cowboy Jack, who has a thing for the other returnee, Susan, a self-proclaimed diva who wants a wealthy man and is the niece of the resort’s owner.
The newcomers to the club are a motley crew of freshmen and sophomores. They include Tom, who vies with Bob for Kathy’s affections; Bruce, an overweight student who longs to be a bodyguard; Herman, the clown of the bunch who has a surprising fear of women; Kathy, who hopes to find a boyfriend; Donna, a surfer chick from Hawaii; and rich pompous Barbara, who only is working because she was forced by her father.
Of course, anyone who has seen this genre of comedy knows what to expect. Major hijinks, the mandatory toplessness courtesy of the ladies, and a bit of romance. Usually, for a straight to video sequence, there seems to be an antagonistic character who intends to perhaps sabotage in any way possible. Here, the story proves to have a lack of that and concentrates on the potential relationships and longtime friendships that result throughout the summer. Yet, there is a scene or two where two of our characters go rogue with ulterior motives only to have them backfire on them.
What helps is the young cast that make up the staff. Sherrie Rose, best known to action film fans as the love interest of Loren Avedon in the underrated King of the Kickboxers, plays the supervisor who truly acts like a big sister to most of the new staffers. Yes, there are the typical characters of the guys who will do anything to have their way with Kathy, including Bob, who always finds himself in a pinch. There’s the clown of the bunch, in this case Herman, whose wicked smile and at times evil laugh gets just that…laughs. Then there’s Bruce, who undergoes a transformation from dough boy to nearly buff as he does anything to become a lifeguard.
What helps the film in terms of the story is the series of relationships that transpires throughout the film. One in particular to mention is that of Jack and Susan. It starts as the boy loves girl thing, but Susan’s diva personality and wanting to land a rich man leads to Jack losing her but gaining more out of that loss. There are quite a few surprises that result in unlikely but working relationships by the film’s finale, which features a performance from OrKestra, a spin-off group of the famous 70’s rock group Electric Light Orchestra.
In conclusion, Summer Job is truly one of the more underrated 80’s teen comedies thanks to its straight forward story, a non-antagonist plotline, and unlikely romances as well as a young great cast.
WFG RATING: B+
SVS Inc. and Dalton Entertainment presents a Movie Job production in association with Kuys Entertainment and Gomillion Studios. Director: Paul Madden. Producer: Kenneth Dalton. Writer: Ralph Wilson. Cinematography: Orson Ochoa. Editing: Christopher Cibelli.
Cast: Sherrie Rose, James Summer, Amy Baxter, Cari Mayor, Renee Shugart, Geroge O., Fred Bourdin, Chantal, Dave Cluse, Kirt Earhart, Jim Pelish, Hilly Gordon, Sherry Reichert, Kathleen Neu.
I totally adore this movie and his amazing soundtrack !!!
A long time ago, my neighbor & friend down the street had this taped, presumably off of Cinemax aka “Skin-a-Max” and watched a good chunk of the movie with him. It’s a run of the mill 1980’s T&A comedy. Despite it not having a well known cast, the characters are actually more relatable than not. Fast forward a few years and I spotted the laserdisc in a music store, Camelot Music. Of course I bought it and I still have it. 🙂
So in a nutshell we have the guys:
Bob Wade: – the jock and “future movie star and all around nice guy”. And he at times has what I call a “cartoon” voice, especially the scene with him and Kathy at the lifeguard stand.
Tom Macklin – from UC Berkeley, a bit of a rebel. He initially has his eyes on Kathy. Him and Bob prank each other early on in the film.
Herman Rigsby from Oregon State – doesn’t have a Major yet. He gets picked on by the other guys early on and runs away from Karen (I’ll get to her in a minute). He has an affinity for humping mattresses too.
Jack Farley from Texas who is majoring in “Broads, booze, and business”. So I guess he has a little franchise of breastaurants now (kidding, that wasn’t in the movie but I wouldn’t put that past him, lol). Anyway, he has the hots for Susan early on until she rejects him flat out.
Bruce from Colorado also is low-key after Kathy and will stop at nothing to become a lifeguard.
Mr. Jacobs – not a student but one of the regular resort staff, He’s middle aged and also a naughty pervert. He gets catfished in a major way in the later part of the film.
Mr. Burns – director of the staff at the resort. He’s strict and not a favorite of the students.
Mr. Parker – Owner of Parker’s Racquet Club.
Susan’s “fling” – smashes and dashes and leaves her with a souvenir.
Kathy Shields – From UCLA and the supervisor over the students. She constantly has to fend off the amorous advances of Bob Wade (and Tom early on). She and Barbara prank one another. She has a boyfriend…
Donna – from Hawaii. She’s a surfer girl.
Susan – niece of Mr. Parker and a total diva and snob. But not as snobby as…
Barbara Gatz – from Baltimore. Her dad made her work the summer to teach her the value of money. Supposedly she has a Ferrari but it’s not shown in the movie. Accompanied by two gay chauffeurs with one doubling as her stylist.
Karen – from U of Missouri – very boy crazy and initially pursues Herman and then Jack toward the end of the film. She has to ward off Jacobs, and does a surprisingly good job at it as well.
Cookie- the insane cook that “swings both ways”.
“Working girl” – Tom starts paying attention to her only to find out later on that she’s an escort.
“Big lady” – in hot pursuit of Mr. Jacobs. He can’t stand her.
“Mrs. Underwood aka Annoying old rich lady” – mocks and taunts Barbara.
And it looks like it was filmed around the Miami Beach area but I wouldn’t know the precise location.
I think my favorite part of the film is when Mr. Jacobs gets catfished by the ladies.