It's always dangerous to mess with perfection. Even in the always volatile world of the teen sex comedy, 'screwing' around with something fleshy yet flawless is just asking for titillation trouble. Such is the case with the absolutely brilliant (in a bumbling, dead monkeys behind the word processor kind of genius) Screwballs. Nothing more than a blatant Porky's rip-off, the Canadian exploitation romp ended up surpassing the late Bob Clark's ribald nostalgia piece in both humor and naked honeys. As the money rolled in, so did the desire to see horndog history repeat. So producer Maurice Smith commissioned a sequel, brought back a couple of his compliant stars, and set off to find that elusive double barreled lightning to bottle box office bonanza. Loose Screws: Screwballs II was indeed a success, if hardly in the aesthetic league of its origins. Sure, it's silly, stupid and sort-of sexy. But what it gained in grosses, it definitely lost in whacked out hormonal weirdness.
After yet another sour, smut-oriented stunt, the principal of Beaver High has had enough. Determining that his sixth year seniors - ladies man Brad Lovett, rich douche Steve Hardman, wannabe XXX filmmaker Hugh G. Rection, and class pig Marvin Eatmore - have been at his school long enough, he sends the lewd lads over to Coxwell Academy, making the boys the headache of headmaster Mr. Arsenault. Naturally, the quartet instantly gets into trouble (a 'mandatory' breast exam for all new female students?) and soon has their collective eye on French teacher Ms. Mona Lott. Setting up a point system for babes scored, the gang goes into full frontal gonzo mode, trying everything they can get some action while avoiding the prying eyes of Arsenault, girl's matron Hilda Von Blow, and the rest of the saucy seaside community.
If the original Screwballs is the dictionary definition of a sex farce (and we did say that in our previous review of said effort), then Screwballs II, otherwise known as Loose Screws, is more (and somewhat less) of the same. It's just as goofy, just as jokey, and just as amateurish in both approach and ideas about sex. It's filled with enough un-augmented female assets to make the present day preoccupation with plastic surgery look unholy by comparison and with its cast regularly willing to completely bare such essentials, it more than delivers in the skin/sin department. Of the returning players, Alan Deveau and Jason Warren prove that they are more than one prick...trick ponies. While more or less playing the same characters they did in the first film, they bring a whole new level of miscreant mongoloidism to their one track minded high schoolers. It's just too bad that newbies Bryan Genesse and Lance Van Der Kolk (as Brad and Steve respectively) fail to live up to their co-stars crazed dedication to the Screwballs ideal.
Elsewhere, Canadian comic Mike MacDonald is a definitely letdown as our irascible, equally horny Arsenault. Instead of coming across as mean and manipulative, he's just a stern adult figure fidgeting about the fringes. Similarly, Cynthia Belliveau's Mona Lott is no Linda Speciale/Purity Bush. We had to wait until the last act of Screwballs to witness the latter's proposed pertness. Here, our object desire is naked early and often, especially in a shower scene that should have many in the audience reaching to "adjust" themselves. Instead of being unapproachable and unreachable, she just seems a few schnapps shots away from doing practically anything with anyone (and we learn just how true that is at the end). It's also a shame that returning director Rafal Zielinski didn't make better use of the Beulah Balbricker-lite delights of Deborah Lobban's Hilda Von Blow. We keep waiting for the manly maid to get her carnal comeuppance, but it never arrives. Instead, Genesse gets an extended drag sequence that's almost painful to endure.
In fact, the "Benny Hill of North America" mentality of Screwballs II (labeled as such by its like-minded producer/guide Maurice Smith) does cause some concern now and again. Post-millennial members of the male gender might gawk at all 'dem titties', but may also balk at all the chauvinistic viewpoints expressed. None of the girls here are presented as smart or independent. All of them are hopped up and as desperate for a man as a Twilight fan. They are eager to drop trou, blou, and the varying points of dignity in between to slut and fret their 77 minutes upon the big screen stage. Of course, when such a willingness leads to an extended wet t-shirt/stripper whipped cream lick-off competition, such non-PC properties are a godsend. But the most amazing thing about Screwballs II is how prophetic is was. At the time, girls acting like ballsy bimbos and guys celebrating such sleaziness was seen as rebellious and a social pariah. Today, it's par for the Facebook course. Indeed, take your cellphone camera to any club and you'll see the lasting impact of something like Screwballs II on today's youth. It's the perfect prurient primer.
Cleaned up considerably and given an excellent 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, Screwball II looks every year of its circa 1985 low budget leanings. The shout outs to shocking Greed decade fashion faux pas is enough to have you ready to ban pastels from the color wheel and the digital image gives away all the on the cheap flaws of the found locations. Of course, the skin tones are treated with a boner increasing attention to detail and the overall look is highly presentable. Listen - compared to the way you've probably seen these skin flicks over the years, Severin deserves a lot of credit. Screwballs II looks better than it ever has, and that's really saying something.
Too bad then about the aural elements here - and we aren't talking about the uneventful Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix. No, that aspect of the release is just aces: not very immersive, but delivering the dialogue in clear, crisp designs. The real miserable aspect of the sonic situation is the noxious New Wave tunes crafted specifically for the picture. Smash hits like "Loose Screws", "Dance the Screw" and the ska-shuffle "Circular Impression" all make you want to grab your Kajagoogoo/Human League/Producers collection from the CD rack and toss it in the river. It's horrifying in its hack pseudo-cool conceits.
First off, don't get too excited about the inclusion of the 88 minute, 1.33:1 full screen "international cut" of the movie being offered as part of the package. VHS dub in quality and presenting no additional nudity (read: NO ADDITIONAL NUDITY!!! ), it's an argument for tighter editorial control over certain exposition scenes, and that's about it. Equally underwhelming, but in a far more fun way, are the interviews with producer Smith and production manager Ken Gord. They are dry, but definitely have some good anecdotes to share. The best bonus feature is the full length commentary track from director Zielinski. Though a little too esoteric in its use of allusions and motion picture metaphor, it still highlights how the most moronic idea can come across winningly. While it would have been nice to have some input from the cast, the added content here is amiable and quite acceptable.
Let's face it - outside a determined grab for more craven cash, there really was no reason to sequelize Screwballs. It was wonderfully wonky just the way it was. Of course, this movie doesn't update the original as much as take the same basic tenets and run them into the gratuitous ground. Still, it's a pocket pool party while it works - which is often. As a result, the movie still earns a Highly Recommended rating even though that's the same score awarded to Part 1. The differences are major, but the overall effect is exactly the same - bare breasties and lots, Lots, LOTS of them. If you want something more from your sex comedy than bad jokes and boobies, you need to travel elsewhere within the genre. For what it's worth, Screwballs and Screwballs II are the one-two donkey punch of flesh farces - end of discussion.
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