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It's hard to tell if Class is a remorseful take-down of American culture as the 'Me Generation' spilled into the '80s, or simply an irritating, distasteful comedy suited only to its time. Starring super-young versions of Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy, (you can see the peach fuzz on his upper lip blowing in the breeze) Class also serves up an older but still drop-dead gorgeous Jacqueline Bisset. My two pages of furiously scribbled notes carry me only until the three-quarter mark of the movie, (there's so much to think about!) and I still don't really know what to make of Class, only that the Prep-School sex-comedy fails to straddle the line between farce and commentary.
Jonathan (AMac) finds himself thrown into the deep end of the pool, a poor doofus in tweed struggling to stay afloat amongst the Polo-wearing glitterati at a prep school attended by Skip, (Lowe) Jonathan's crass new roommate. After a little elaborate and humanly impossible back-and-forth pranking, the two become fast friends. Skip is even quite pleased when his roomie gets laid during a wild weekend. He's less pleased to discover the object of Jonathan's affections is Skip's own mother, the hard-drinking Ellen. The question slyly posed by the movie's title, then, I guess, is this: does anyone in this cluster have any class?
Of course it takes some time for this shocking revelation to occur, which gives us plenty more time to sneer at these over-privileged kids as they play grab-ass with each other (John Cusack makes an early, smarmy appearance). The laughs are there upon occasion, tempered mostly by the fact that you don't give a rat's ass about these kids, and you wouldn't have cared in '83 either. Rob Lowe looks like he's actually wearing women's make up throughout the movie (is it just a Rob Lowe thing? Was he so pretty back then that a talented movie makeup artist couldn't keep from making him look like a tramp?) Meanwhile, McCarthy's po-boy plight is that his "whole life depends on [his] getting into Harvard", just one sad, hard to relate to hook upon which this movie hangs its lame jokes.
Bisset's character Ellen is so desperate to get into AMac's pants that it's just sad, never mind the fact she's the type of billionaire's wife who's versed in the art of the instant margarita and will seduce a random 18-year-old college boy. So what we have are distasteful, irritating characters we can't relate to, mixed into a plot we don't care about, tied together with an uneven tone. Whether it's AMac marching around campus to an A-Team-style victory song after his weekend with Bisset, or AMac chuckling in bemused fashion at Lowe's pathetic antics, or Bisset binge-drinking to deal with her horrible life, there's something in Class that just doesn't fit, and makes you want to slap your forehead in anguish. Rent It.
Olive Films displays its class with this 1.85:1 ratio, MPEG-4 AVC 1080p transfer. While not incredibly sharp, Class sports a nice 'film feel' with natural grain, rich colors and decent detail levels in the middle and close up range. A little bit of blur crops up on occasion around swiftly moving figures, but other compression or noise reduction problems are pretty minor. This is a fine looking image that is certainly well above DVD quality, though not as good as a brand new master could have been.
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 is your sole audio option, which is also not from a new master, but is clean, crisp and clear nonetheless. The score, smug and smarmy as it is, comes through loud and clear with good depth and definition, and generally doesn't compete with dialog, which is also clean and damage free.
The Original Theatrical Trailer is the sole extra.
This romantic comedy drama misses lots of marks, not the least of which is the fact that it was hard then, and it's hard now, to relate to either lead actor Andrew McCarthy's character's plight as he falls for his roommate's mother, or any of the other pretentious Preppies on display. Whether it's AMac marching around campus to an A-Team-style victory song after his sexy weekend with Bisset, or AMac chuckling in bemused fashion at roommate Rob Lowe's pathetic antics, or Bisset binge-drinking to deal with her horrible life, there's something in Class that just doesn't fit, and makes you want to slap your forehead in anguish. Rent It.