I like watching bad films, usually bad films can be comical like “The Room” (2003). When I saw this film on a shelf in CEX for 75 pence I though what the hell I'll check it out.
This film is from the writer and makers of “Police Academy”, cause you know that means “great”. This film was not released at the cinema, it wasn't even straight to video it was a TV movie. This tells you a whole lot right there.
The film has a very recognisable cast, it is a who's who of 80's TV comedy stars. we have the boy from “Christine” trying to be a teenage version of Mahoney but he is not as charming or likable as Steve Guttenberg.
The film is the feature film debut of George Clooney as a character who is a bully, thief and has a character arc which are totally out of place in this so called comedy film.
I put this on the other night as I felt like a bit of 80's cheesy comedy and I like George Clooney, I was hoping for something in the vain of “Police Academy” and possibly “Return of the Killer Tomatoes”. Sadly this film was like neither of these.
The film starts with the teenage leads setting up loads of pranks all around the high school and then standing back as they all go off at school. Nothing funny with this, you've seen it all before in other teen comedies of the 80's like “Animal House” or “Revenge of the Nerds”. The boys are called to the principals office where they are reprimanded. Their parents are called, you would think this would make them send the boys to a military school, but Max, the Mahoney wannabe’s father finds the antics of his son hilarious, so nothing further happens.
Max and his friend pull another prank on a group of workman digging up a road, they get the workman to dig the other side of the road, as you do. This lands them both in court and the judge Mr Jefferson from “The Jefferson's” who sentences them to attend “Combat Academy”.
They try to get kicked out by doing pranks at the academy, in the same way that Mahoney tried to in “Police Academy” but no luck. So they are forced to stay at the school till the end of the year. Max's best friend with a stutter decides to just go with it and not do pranks anymore, he ends up doing well and becoming a corporal.
Max still doesn't want to get involved, but falls for the girl from “National Lampoons European Vacation”. He helps George Clooney deal with his feelings towards his father and stop stealing. The film ends with a war game between “Combat Academy” and a Russian military school, which the kids decide to end as a draw and as friends rather then enemies. Max stays at the school and supposedly gives up his pranks to be burnt and his friend goes off with his girl friend and parents. While Max's final prank is to have fireworks from his prank box to go off.
That is the story of this film in a nutshell, I wanted to like it and laugh but this film is not funny. I read reviews online after watching it.
People gave it 2.5 stars and said it was hilarious, I would like to know exactly what they found hilarious about the film. The one and only time I laughed during this film was when George woke up hungover, his bed was in the woods near the war game with all the other cadets surrounding him. He said “What are you all doing in my room, why are all these trees in my room?” as you would expect George delivered this line brilliantly and was the best thing about this film.
This film has so many well known faces, there was Robert Culp, Jamie Farr, Dick Van Patten, John Ratzenberger, Bernie Kopell (the doctor from the Love Boat). Richard Moll (crazy guard from Night Court) and randomly Marc Price (Skippy from Family Ties). All of the recognisable stars are in there trying to be funny and I know they can be, but the script and characters don't work.
This film was a confused mess.
It starts off trying to be a teenage version of “Police Academy” then tries to be a John Hughes film and tries to be just like “Stripes”. I would rather watch “Stripes” or “Private Benjamin” then this film because they are funny.
Though George's character Biff starts of as a distasteful person who is a Kleptomaniac, the problem is George is such a likeable person and so charming you can't hate him even when he tells Max off and pushes a kid into a pool. What they should have done in my opinion would to be to have cast George as the lead as he would have made that character more likeable and indisputably funnier.
The film is not badly made, it is not the worst film I have ever watched, I just found it dull. The problem with it is that no one seems sure what film they are doing.
Robert Culp and George Clooney are in a serious film, where as Richard Moll is doing something very random in each scene and doesn't add anything to the film, I'm reminded of “1941”. All the stars trying to out do each other, which is why both of these films struggled to find an audience However “1941” is actually funny and has talented funny people in it.
Would I recommend it? No, unless you have absolutely nothing better to do or watch