Corvette Summer (1978) / Comedy-Adventure
MPAA Rated: PG for some violence and brief nudity
Running Time: 105 min.
Cast: Mark Hamill, Annie Potts, Eugene Roche, Kim Milford, Philip Bruns, Danny Bonaduce, Richard McKenzie, Brion James, Albert Insinnia, Jane A. Johnston, Isaac Ruiz, Dick Miller, Wendie Jo Sperber, T.K. Carter
Director: Matthew Robbins
Screenplay: Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins
Review published January 11, 2005
Before Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, there was Corvette Summer, featuring a similar odyssey of a man who wanted his vehicle back and was willing to go through any lengths to get it. Most notorious for being the movie red-hot Mark Hamill (Comic Book: The Movie) would do right after Star Wars, the film still did little business comparatively, although it has gained a small cult following, particularly for aficionados of the Corvette Stingray, which is featured prominently in the plot of the film. Not really a good film by any stretch of the imagination, Corvette Summer has an oddly quaint charm at times, and an interesting cast of recognizable supporting characters, including Annie Potts (of TV's "Designing Women" and Ghostbusters), here in her feature film debut. Potts would get nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.
Hamill stars as Kenny, a teenage car aficionado with a special place in his heart for Corvettes. His passions lead him to fixing up a Corvette Stingray in his auto shop class with the help of his classmates, and together, they make one hell of a sweet ride. Candy apple color and mods up the wazoo -- a true one of a kind car. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long before the car is stolen, so Kenny, distraught over losing the one thing in this world that meant something to him, puts out all his efforts in getting that car back. A hot tip leads him to Las Vegas, where he hooks up with a fledgling hooker, Vanessa, who helps him try to track down the Stingray before it gets away for good.
Corvette Summer is strictly for nostalgia buffs who watched this when they were younger, or those who just like anything distinctly 70s. For your average movie-goer, however, this is slim pickings, with a story that almost appears to be shot without a cohesive script, and although there are some amusing performers in the film, there aren't any real laughs coming from the script itself. All in all, a fun Annie Potts performance, some interesting shots of 70s Vegas, and a lot of "Hey, there's that guy from that other movie" moments as Hamill meets the rest of the cast. However, writer-director Matthew Robbins (Dragonslayer, Batteries Not Included) does little to make this anything more than a modest adventure, with more needed in the way of plot developments and better characterizations.
©2005 Vince Leo