Tuesday, February 22, 2011


If the unbearable cuteness of Phoebe Cates doesn’t distract you from the lack of plot, then Betsy Russell’s nude scenes make for a nice apology. Sure, the storyline is flimsy, mainly focusing on the events leading up Cates’ premeditated deflowering at the hands of Matthew Modine, but the humor and nudity are the real centerpiece.

Tons of shitty "Porky’s" imitations came out of the eighties, and a lot fail mainly due to forced and unlikable performances and jokes that just aren’t very funny. This is a total winner, though. It’s not only funny, but every actor is likable. Most notably, Michael Zorek, who was sadly underutilized during this trend in pop flicks, stands out as horn dog Bubba Beauregard. Modine turns in a decent comedic performance as Cates’ love interest. Russell is perhaps the most valuable player in this movie, with her character volleying between both vulnerable and sinister. I was most surprised by this performance since I’d only seen her in the abysmal “Avenging Angel,” where she replaces Donna Wilkes’ funny, snappy, and passionate take on the character with a foul and unwatchable stupidity that destroys the movie. While she is stunning to look at, in “Private School” she actually provides a performance that lives up to her good looks.

One fun fact is that this film actually features two actors who went on to appear in “Witchboard” together. Kathleen Willhoite appears here as Betsy, Cates’ wing girl, and would later go on to play wisecracking psychic Zarabeth in Kevin Tenney’s Ouija-centric classic three years later. Burke Byrnes, who plays Lieutenant Dewhurst in “Witchboard” appears as a character that I presume wound up on the cutting room floor. However, he is clearly visible in the background during “Private School”’s finale, and is credited as playing Phoebe’s father.

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