20th Century Fox Release
Directed and written by Bob Clark
Produced by Dan Carmody
Bob Clark doesn’t get nearly enough credit, far as I’m concerned. Here’s a writer/director who produced three genuine classics in three very different film genres. John Carpenter often gets the credit for starting the slasher movie genre with 1978’s “Halloween” Nobody seems to remember Bob Clark’s grisly masterpiece “Black Christmas” which he directed in 1974 and concerned a deranged killer stalking college girls in a sorority house on Christmas Eve. Bob Clark then went the more traditional holiday route with “A Christmas Story” in 1983. At the time of its release it was received very poorly but has since gone on to become The #1 Christmas movie. Hey, you don’t see “It’s A Wonderful Life” having 24-hour Christmas Eve marathon showings on TV, do you?
But it’s PORKY’s we’re here to talk about. The movie that for me started the teenage sex comedy genre. Movies as diverse as “House Party” “Losin’ It” “American Pie” “Sex Drive” and even adult sex comedies like “Bachelor Party” and “There’s Something About Mary” can trace their ancestry back to PORKY’S. If you watch it today in the right spirit, I honestly think you’ll get a lot of belly laughs out of it because PORKY’S has some outstandingly laugh out loud moments and believe it or not, some moments where it tries hard to bring some thought and heart to its sex-crazed hijinks.
The movie opens in a 1950’s South Florida town called Angel Beach. The sex-mad Pee-Wee (Dan Monahan) and his buddies spend their days engaged in thinking up elaborate pranks to play on each other and the unsuspecting townspeople in-between trying to figure out how to get laid. They decide one night to drive over to the next county to a wildass strip club called Porky’s to satisfy their lusts and thereby get way more than they bargained for.
Maybe they should have taken a hint from the fact that the bouncer sits behind an Army issue .50-caliber machine gun. Maybe not. In any case, Pee Wee and his buddies are soon stripped of money and dignity by Porky (Chuck Mitchell) and sent on their way by the county sheriff (Alex Karras) who just happens to be Porky’s brother. Their car is wrecked and their pride hurt. One of their number, Mickey Jarvis (Roger Wilson) vows revenge on Porky while PeeWee and the crew resume their pursuit of teenage sex. It’s all fun and games until Mickey gets beaten half to death by Porky’s thugs and the gang turns their energies from chasing tail to chasing Porky. And trust me, when these guys channel all that pent up sexual energy into destructive pursuits, the results are explosive indeed.
The revenge plot comes in the last half hour of the movie. In between the first disastrous visit to Porky’s den of sin and the final confrontation with him, we’re treated to truly hilarious stuff and an interesting subplot where PeeWee and his gang confronts racism in the form of a Jewish kid in their school who has an ongoing battle with their buddy Tim. PeeWee and the gang have a couple of scenes where they really have to wrestle with their feelings about this situation. They genuinely like the Jewish kid but they’ve grown up with their anti-Semitic buddy Tim all their lives and they know him and they try to tell the Jewish guy that he’s not such a bad guy. There’s a few scenes where the guys talk about the situation and they really have to explore how they feel about it, how they’re going to deal with it and the scenes ring true. These are guys who really don’t care about who’s Jewish or Protestant or a Cthulhuist or whatever. They like anybody who’s down with their absolutely outrageous deeds and schemes.
There’s also a gut busting scene with Kim Cattrall that looks like an audition tape for her role in today’s “Sex And The City”. And then there’s the funniest scene in the entire movie where the girl’s coach Beulah Balbricker (Nancy Parsons) is calmly and rationally explaining to an increasingly disbelieving school principal why he should authorize a police line up of all the penises in the school. Yeah, you read that right. Trust me. Just watch the movie. And when you do, pay attention to the three male basketball school coaches in the background. These guys are trying their best not to laugh themselves into hernias while listening to Balbricker’s rationalizations of her demands. It’s one of the funniest seven minutes ever committed to film.
And then we get what the movie has been building up to all along: Porky and his redneck buddies getting their well-deserved comeuppance that is put together with such skill and split second timing it would wring gasps of envy from Jim Phelps and his IMF team. There’s an amazing amount of subplots that get pulled together just so everybody can get even with Porky including one of the basketball coaches who harbors a long standing grudge against Porky and quits his job to join up with PeeWee and the gang just to get revenge. By the end credits, everything is resolved and we even find out if PeeWee is ever gonna get laid or not.
Is PORKY’S worth your Netflixing it or not? It all depends on how badly you want to see it, I suppose. I think it’s worth it as it’s a lot funnier than most of what passes for comedy in the movie theaters these days but that’s just me. And when it comes to comedies, I’m really hit or miss as to what I think is funny and what isn’t. But this I’ll tell you for free and you take it for what it’s worth: PORKY’S did not uplift my soul, enlighten or educate me. But it did make me laugh my ass off.