Go

Hardbodies

Year: 1984
Production Co: Chroma III Productions
Studio: Columbia
Director: Mark Griffiths
Writer: Steve Greene/Eric Alter/Mark Griffiths
Cast: Grant Cramer

If you were on a quest to find the film most identifiably made and released in the eighties, you probably wouldn't have to go very far beyond this gem.

From the characterisations and fashion to the soundtrack and titles, there are few elements here that don't scream the movie's heritage from the rooftops. Without even checking you know it's from squarely in the middle 80s – the bikinis are high cut, the scrunchies are all colourful as they hold frizzed-up hair to one side, the personality of the part nerdy, part devil-may-care sidekick is extreme – all the hallmarks of not just the time but the straight to video sex comedy genre are firmly in place.

Beach bum Scotty is an atypical good-looking blond layabout. He's devoted to his girlfriend Kristi even while the beach bunnies from the neighbourhood throw themselves at him, but he's fallen on hard times and his gross landlord (I'm certain without even remembering fully that he's Italian, wears nothing but a singlet and pants and has a cigar jammed in his mouth) has given him notice to clear out.

At the same time, three middle-aged losers fortuitously arrive on the beach to get away from the pressures of their business. In the most homoerotically charged concept since Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards played volleyball on the beach to the strains of Playing with the Boys, the trio ask Scotty to move in to the opulent waterfront mansion they've rented and school them in the way of scoring chicks.

There are a couple of epic parties, a sleazy local band promoter supplies the musical backdrop in the form of a Go Go's-inspired band who add to the edgy/glam 80s rock soundtrack, and the guys start to get some of the action they deserve.

With a central idea that shouldn't have filled up a half hour sitcom, subplots abound. There's the lanky, beardy Texan of the trio who it seems is going to form a relationship with the real estate agent who shows up (also the heroine's sister). There's the fallout between the guys, one of whom becomes the antagonist and engineers a scheme to muscle in on Kristi.

There's bad music. Lurid, neon-coloured brushstroke fonts in the titles. Narratively needless T&A. There's a 'going shopping' montage, where the outfits the guys eventually settle on are so of their time they're just as ugly as the first few outfits they try on for laughs.

If I'd reviewed this film when it first came out my reaction would have been completely different. I would have commented only on the slight story and the joy of seeing naked breasts (still a selling point in movies and hard to come by in 1984). Today, it's like a time capsule someone's dug up from an ancient epoch.

What's most interesting about it however is that it wasn't just some throwaway teen sex comedy from some shlock straight-to-video distributor, it was actually based on a true story. The screenwriters attended a party in LA thrown by three guys who came to LA to do just what their characters in the movie do, later telling the story in a Penthouse Magazine article.

© 2011-2022 Filmism.net. Site design and programming by psipublishinganddesign.com | adambraimbridge.com | humaan.com.au