One of the most memorable comedies of the early 1980's, Bob Clark's Porky's remains a popular favorite despite the fact that the story is incredibly simple and that the humor is, to be blunt, pretty crass.
The film revolves around a group of teenage boys who attend Angel Beach High School in Florida. Like most teenage boys, these guys are completely obsessed with girls and when they can't score they decide to head deep into the heart of the Everglades to visit a ramshackle nudie bar named Porky's. Expecting a night of girly action and male bonding, they're instead treated to a rather rude awakening and it isn't long before they've been humiliated and kicked out of the establishment. Wounded male egos are a fragile thing, particularly at that age, and so the group swears revenge.
While the boys are going about their business, things get complicated at the school when some of the jocks start acting up and one of the students gets centered out for his Jewish heritage.
A huge influence on films like the Van Wilder and American Pie movies that have helped rebuild the legacy of the teen sex comedy in recent years, Porky's really broke new ground in terms of what it showed and how it showed it. Based on some of his own experiences from his younger days as well as those of his friends and co-workers, the film portrays teenage boys and their obsession with women as all consuming - which isn't far from the truth in most cases. These guys want girls and they want to do things to girls and they don't really care about anything else. They're typically dumb teenage boys who do typically dumb things to try and score and it's from this well that Clark pulls the comedic elements that make the film so enjoyable. Underneath the crass humor and the goofy jokes, however, is a surprisingly smart and poignant comment on racism and bullying and how these things can play such a huge part in someone's life when they're on the receiving end of it, especially when it happens to them in their teenage years. This makes the film smarter than a lot of viewers think to give it credit for.
Before you get the idea that the film is all serious or that it's preachy, rest assured, nothing could be further from the truth as this is a sex comedy first and foremost. The narrative bounces around from one ridiculous set piece to the next and the bulk of the movie is made up of simple, perverse gags revolving around sex. However, the underlying take on racism and bigotry is definitely there and there can be no discounting its importance in the film's success. It doesn't over shadow the comedy and it isn't heavy handed but it does pack a surprisingly strong punch when you take into account the fluffiness of the rest of the picture.
As far as the performances go, things are pretty solid across the board here. No one took home an Oscar (and no one deserved to) but you'll believe the cast in their roles, with Dan Monahan as Pee Wee stealing a few of the scenes he's in. Clark's direction isn't overly fancy but he keeps the gags coming on a regular basis and there's enough style to the visuals that if the movie doesn't look remarkable it does at least look good. In the end it's the humor that matters and that's what Porky's delivers in spades. The movie is still funny years later and it's influence continues to be felt.
Porky's is reissued in a decent 1.85.1 anamorphic transfer that, while not bad in terms of quality, does show its age. There's a softness to the picture that hurts things just a little bit and grain and the odd speck or two are easy enough to spot even if you're not looking for them. That said, the colors don't look half and the black levels are at least reasonably consistent. Detail varies from strong to mediocre while flesh tones always look right. No problems with report with mpeg compression artifacts though some very mild edge enhancement is kicking around in a few scenes.
You've got your choice of enjoying Porky's in Dolby Digital Stereo or Dolby Digital Mono, both track are in English and Spanish and an English closed captioning option. A dubbed Spanish Dolby Digital Mono track has also been included. Quality is fine here, though don't expect much in the way of channel separation on the stereo track or you'll be disappointed. There honestly isn't a whole lot of difference between the mono and stereo options, though the music does sound a little more vibrant when given two channels to play with. Dialogue is clear and there are no problems with hiss or distortion to report.
The best extra feature on this One Size Fits All Edition is a full-length commentary courtesy of the late, great Bob Clark. Always amicable, Clark gives a pretty thorough talk about shooting and casting the picture, what was shot where, as well as who did what and why they did it. He covers a fair bit of ground here, talking about some of the unusual circumstances that arose during the production and giving a detailed history of the picture and its influence.
From there, we're treated to a featurette entitled Porky's Through The Peephole: Bob Clark Looks Back. This is essentially a sit down talk with Clark where he covers the origin of the film, the influence that it had, and what his experiences were while working on the movie. It covers some of the same ground as Clark's commentary but he comes off as such a nice guy here that it's worth sitting through this even if repetition is a factor.
A second featurette, Porky's: A Comedy Classic, is also here. This is basically a discussion with a pair of VH1 comedians who sit down talk about why they think that the movie has held up so well and why they enjoy it so much in the first place. It isn't going to open your eyes to any revealing facts or information but it's reasonably entertaining and quite good natured in its delivery.
Rounding out the extras is a rather useless Porky's Video Game Sales Pitch bit that shows off some mind-blowing Atari 2600 graphics, a pair of trailers, animated menus, and chapter stops for the feature.
While the audio and video aren't mind blowing and the extras are decent but far from great, Porky's remains an enjoyable classic of low brow humor that holds up well a quarter of a century after it was made. It's crass, it's goofy, but most of all it's funny. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.