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The Story: The ArchDuke, Grand Puba of the 80s teen sex comedy, this one basically started it all, with a group of teens in 1954 setting out to get their virgin friend laid while taking revenge on the owner of a redneck strip club and his greasy Sheriff brother. Pure, sleazy 80s sex romping with a few memorable site gags and lots and lots of full frontal girl nakedness from start to finish.
Why it’s BAD: So the ‘teens’ are all men in their late twenties and early thirties but that doesn’t make a difference ’cause all this is shameless objectification that feels squeamishly uncomfortable. While the idea of boys going to great lengths to see naked girls is not new, the creepy peepholes and voyeurism are, especially by today’s standards, just wrong and really, not that clever. Yes, this movie has fans, but the coming of age theme is done so much better in other movies. This one is just a waste of time and probably not as good as most remember.
The Story: A group of teenagers deal with the struggles of growing up, the boys, who are at the center of the story, are naturally trying to have sex, and when a beautiful girl transfers to the school and causes a rift between friends, things take a new turn.
Why it BETTER: Yes, the 80s had a different sensibility back then and admittedly, this movie sometimes can’t find the right way to treat its women, but in comparison to Porky’s, The Last American Virgin has a much deeper affect and handles many of the complexities of growing up with a more deft hand. And come on, that ending. That’s some great filmmaking right there.
The Story: What there is consists mostly of boys at T & A High School (that’s Taft & Adams, thank you very much) putting nearly every waking effort they can into seeing girls freed of their garments. The prime target is the evil, virginal Purity Bush (Linda Speciale) who tricks the boys into getting into trouble. Now they want to see her ‘exposed’ before the entire student body.
Why it’s BAD: Not so much inspired by the earlier Porky’s sex comedy, but a borderline copyright infringement of it, this hopelessly gratuitous movie is an unapologetic foray into female nudity, with nearly every woman in the cast in a state of undress, and every line of dialog either a double entendre or leading up to one. With stock characters and well, screwball comedy, this one isn’t trying to be anything but a titillating (might as well get that one out of the way) comedy that is really just an oh-my-they-made-movies-like-that-didn’t-they? experience. Boring.
The Story: A stressed-out high school senior is worried about his final exams and getting into college, so when his parents go traveling, he’s left alone in their wealthy home and, with the urging of a friend, has a call girl come over. That turns out to be both a big mistake but also an opportunity.
Why it’s BETTER: Young Tom Cruise has the charm cranked to eleven in this star-making performance in a film that is smart and wickedly sharp but also really sexy. With Cruise dancing about in his underthings keeping many quite happy, there’s also the hauntingly beautiful Rebecca De Mornay to keep us up, sweating in the middle of the night. This is stylistic, funny, and a very satisfying sex comedy that does what it intends with simple plot. There is no substitute.
The Story: A nerdy boy gets a chance to party with frat boys when his father loans them his condo in Palm Springs if they promise to help his boy get some action. When a rival fraternity shows up, they make a bet to see who can have sex with the chosen hottest girl. Classy.
Why it’s BAD: I always love watching an old movie and seeing a face I recognize that has since gone on to be not only a famous actor but critically-acclaimed. Ladies and Gentleman, I present you with Academy Award-winner Tim Robbins who plays party boy Larry ‘Mother’ Tucker, a sex-obsessed, forehead slapping, beer-guzzling frat boy who loses his mind at the prospect of seeing a girl with her top off. Well, who doesn’t? Either way, this is a pretty standard romp through the tropes of the genre, but fun nonetheless. Lots of nudity, partying, and general 80s cheesy flare. Of note, that same year, just before this, Robbins was also cast in a far better movie with a similar theme called The Sure Thing, though he plays a much different character. Oh, hey . . .
The Story: A college student in New England gets invited to go back to California for vacation where his best friend has him set up with a gorgeous young girl that is a ‘sure thing’. Problem is, he needs to get there, and so ends up in a ride share across country with a girl he hates and who hates him, so naturally they fall in love. Ah, the movies.
Why it’s BETTER: A very funny script and great performances by John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga really make this one a surprisingly touching little film. Not quite so filled with naked jiggly bits, it has it’s romp in all the right places, with the lovely Nicollette Sheridan, who’s set up to be the bimbo bikini girl who’ll get our hero laid but becomes something a little bit different. Cusack’s Gibbs learns a lot and its this personal journey that gives the movie its heart. He’s intellectual and stuff.
The Story: Who says it’s all about the boys? Well, it is when it comes to teen sex comedies, but at least this one tries to give it a spin. The roles are all flipped around this time with three major party girls taking their innocent, virginal friend to a Southern California beach house (owned by one of their uncle’s) to find some action.
Why it’s BAD: So it’s far from clever, story-wise, with the tried and true theme of a beach house and parties, but having girls in the leads gives it a twist though that’s about as far as it goes in trying to set itself apart. That doesn’t mean it’s less raunchy. Oh no, there’s plenty of bouncy young girls on display. The acting is pretty subpar and the ‘humor’, even for the 80s is abysmal. For fans of the genre only, this one knows exactly who its audience is. That’s probably why it was all over late night cable channels back in the day. Not that we’d know anything about that.
The Story: A girl from the San Fernando Valley meets a punk from the city and hit it off, much to the dismay of her closest friends. While their two worlds are a universe apart, they are inescapably drawn to each other and struggle to keep a relationship. Lots of awesome music that covers two popular trends, this is an unusual love story with a lot of heart.
Why it’s BETTER: Long before Nicholas Cage made a career out of being eccentric, he was developing his skills as an explosive character actor. His performance of Randy is truly one of his most charming roles to date, but it’s the ethereal Deborah Foreman playing Julie who lights up this movie. She’s an absolute heartbreaker. Uncompromising, both fierce and sentimental, this was directed by Martha Coolidge, the only female director on this list and is perhaps reason why the girls in the story are so much more empowered. Great movie.
The Story: No, it’s not about a sausage. That one star’s Seth Rogen. This one is about California skiing believe or not. And boobs. Very many boobs. The threadbare story centers on a boy from Idaho who comes to Squaw Valley to take on the best at the freestyle champions. He joins up with The Rat Pack, a group of fun loving party skiers whose leader Dan, (David Naughton) picks up a nemesis in a European braggart who wants his lady. You know where this is leading.
Why it’s BAD: For a teen sex comedy, there’s a lot of really freaking good skiing going on here, especially in the finale. But whatever, the girls are beautiful, the boys are crazy, and it’s packed to the rafters with every conceivable cliché in the book. It’s kinda strange to see Naughton, who was in his mid-thirties, follow-up his great work in An American Werewolf in London a few years earlier with this, but there’s always the stunning, stuff of dreams, Shannon Tweed, a Playmate of the Year (back when that really meant something) to take your mind of that. But even she can’t save this paper thin mess. That says a lot.
The Story: Hey, who’s this in the cast? Johnny Depp? Yup. Following up his memorable turn in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Depp hits the beaches of Miami with a fellow horny friend as guests at a posh resort. Interested only is the bevy of bodacious babes swarming the city, they run afoul of a jewel thief and end up with more than they bargained with. This is where the comedy “whah-wha” sound kicks in but you’ll just have to do it yourself.
Why it’s BETTER: The third in the ‘Private’ series (Private Lessons, Private School), this one is the best of the three, mostly because it’s just comedy gold watching future super heavyweight Depp hamming it up at every possible moment. A bit more loaded with physical pratfalls than the other two, mostly due to the great Hector Elizondo, who shows up as the thief, this is a light romp that has a little class to it, but also has more jokes than others that actually land. Plus Captain Sparrow.
The Story: Okay, so maybe not quite a ‘teen’ sex comedy as three of the leads are middle-aged men learning from a young punk how to pick up girls, but not including Hardbodies on this list would feel like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with no bread. A squishy mess. It might seem as though I’m avoiding giving a plot description but if you’ve read the first sentence then you know the movie. Just with boobs.
Why it’s BAD: The thing that made this so appealing to the target audience (aside from the aforementioned boobs), was the nerdy, hopelessly lame ‘adults’ who can’t even get a date while the hotshot younger guy to show ’em how it’s done. ‘Course all those youngster are comin’ up on 50 now and are probably wishing they could go back and get a few lessons themselves. This is really just another excuse to film at the beach and show some female flesh. Tired and boring.
The Story: In 1956, shy teenager named Jonathan (Doug McKeon) makes friends with a popular student and sets his sites on the sexy Marilyn McCauley (Kelly Preston), hoping to go all the way. Hi-jinks ensue. But not like you expect.
Why it’s BETTER: Kelly Preston. Done. Seriously. It’s been scientifically proven in numerous in-depth studies that I’m making up right now that 1980s Kelly Preston was chemically and emotionally impossible not to fall in love with. The movie is actually kinda sweet and isn’t so raunchy as the others, with a believable story that made seeing the lovely Preston undress make sense. There’s nudity (full frontal) and simulated sex and some up-skirt shots that feel a little creepy in this day in age, but all in all, a nice little capsule of 80s good times. And did we mention Kelly Preston?
What are some 80s teen sex comedies you think are bad? Which ones are the better one?