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.