Private School (1983) / Comedy-Romance
aka Private School...for Girls
MPAA Rated: R for strong sexuality, nudity, and language
Running Time: 97 min.
Cast: Phoebe Cates, Matthew Modine, Betsy Russell, Michael Zorek, Fran Ryan, Jonathan Prince, Kathleen Wilhoite, Ray Walston, Martin Mull
Director: Noel Black
Screenplay: Dan Greenburg, Suzanne O'Malley
Review published September 10, 2005
The plot: Christine (Cates, Fast Times at Ridgemont High) is a fresh-faced girl at a school for girls that has entered a budding romance with Jim (Modine, Memphis Belle), a handsome guy from a school for boys. Christine's competitive girlfriend Jordan (Russell, Cheerleader Camp) thinks she can always do her one better, as she sets her sights on stealing Jim away, using all of her feminine assets to distract him from his romantic pursuits.
A piss-poor 80s sex film if there ever was one, Private School is the epitome of adolescent male fantasies, merely an excuse to indulge in voyeuristic delights without the fear of repercussion. Everything's in keeping with the fantasy, as the women are all quite eager to please, disrobing at every opportunity as the male protagonists serve no other purpose but to be our proxy in the pursuit of heavenly female bodies.
Although I am being generous by putting Private School into the romantic comedy genre, there's very little that is romantic about the film, and even less that is actually funny. The movie doesn't even extol the virtues of romantic love over the lust of the flesh -- it merely asserts that a sexual relationship with a good girl is more fulfilling than a fling with a naughty one.
The comedy is about as crass as it gets without (thankfully) succumbing to toilet humor. Seeing Modine and Zorek (Hot Moves) dress up like women in order to get close enough to hot babes to see them in states of undress is so "Bosom Buddies", a sitcom that had already run out of steam on television the year before. The one funny thing is that these guys are spying on the horniest women on campus, and they aren't even TRYING to score with them -- just seeing them without clothes is enough to satisfy their manly urges, which only solidifies my theory that this adult film is actually meant for pubescent children and no one else.
Private School's sole assets can be narrowed down to three elements: Betsy Russell in various states of undress, a titillating shower scene with some curvy Playboy playmates, and a soundtrack that sports some killer tunes of the times. Not even these elements can make up for the fact that Private School offers only 97 seconds of voyeuristic pleasure amid 97 minutes of excruciating cinematic pain. Unless you are a sex-starved teenage boy that has no option other than to resort to National Geographic magazine and the Victoria's Secret catalogs for jack-off material, I can't imagine why in the world you would subject yourself to a one-dimensional and outdated sex flick like Private School. Lots of T & A, but those are just two of the letters in this T-R-A-S-H.
©2005 Vince Leo