By Richard Winters
My Rating: 1 out of 10
4-Word Review: Tutoring him in sex.
Bobby (Matt Latanzi) is a high school senior set to graduate and go onto Yale even though he would rather go to UCLA and study astrology. In either case he fails his French class, which impedes him from attending either school. His concerned and controlling father (Kevin McCarthy) decides to hire a tutor named Terry (Caren Kaye) to live with them in their mansion estate while helping Bobby with his French so he can pass the course. Bobby though starts to become attracted to Terry and the two eventually become lovers much to the consternation of his father who would rather have the attractive woman all to himself.
I was still in high school when this film came out and living in a small Minnesota town as a preacher’s kid. I remember my Dad getting a call from some man who had watched this film in the theater and become ‘outraged’ at its ‘pornographic’ nature. He wanted to form picketers at all the area theaters that where showing it and eventually create a nationwide protest movement that he hoped would eventually get the film banned for being what he considered ‘obscene’.
Although there certainly is nudity it is only of the topless variety and it’s no more ‘outrageous’ than any of the many other teen sex comedies of the ‘80s. If the film is offensive in any way it is because it is dumb and uninspired and filled with a lot of silly humor that would be better suited for a Disney flick. The romantic angle is formulaic and the scene of the two in bed together is more mechanical than erotic and hurt by a sappy love song that gets played over it.
Lattanzi, who at one time was married to singer Olivia Newton-John and the father of Chloe Lattanzi, has a deer-in-headlights look about him and a limited acting ability to match it. He looks too old to be playing a teen and appears to be more like 24, which is what he really was. The idea that this good-looking guy with chiseled features could not make it with any of the girls is hard to believe and in a lot of ways the character behaves more like he is a naïve 14 year-old than someone headed for college.
McCarthy is a far better actor who manages to have a screen presence, which the transparent Lattanzi clearly knows nothing about. The fact that the old man makes a play for the tutor should’ve been played up more and I was surprised that when she flatly rejects his advances he didn’t just up and fire her and replace her with some other tutor, which would’ve helped give the otherwise one-dimensional script more conflict.
Arlene Golonka adds some light levity as the ditzy mother and its great seeing Crispin Glover in his film debut playing one of Bobby’s friends and for a change a more ‘normal’ type of character, which is freaky in itself. Clark Brandon, who enjoyed a brief acting career in the ‘80s and an even briefer foray into directing during the ‘90s, is also fun as Bobby’s other friend Billy who also gets the film’s one-and-only funny exchange when he tries to ask a blonde for a dance:
Billy: Would you care to dance with me?
Blonde: No thank you.
Billy: Then I suppose a blow job is completely out of the question.
This whole thing was basically a rip-off of Private Lessons, which had a similar theme, came out 2 years earlier and was a surprise hit. That film will be reviewed later this week.
My Rating: 1 out of 10
Released: April 22, 1983
Runtime: 1Hour 37Minutes
Director: George Bowers
Studio: Crown International Pictures
Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video