Tee-Hee, I'm Naked!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


(1983, 80 min.)

Starring Peter Keleghan, Kent Deuters, Linda Speciale, Alan Deveau, Linda Shayne, Jason Warren, Jim Coburn, Terrea Smith (as Terrea Foster), Donnie Bowes, Kimberly Brooks, Nicky Fylan, Paula Farmer, Joe Crozier, Heather Smith, Nola Wale, Nanci Chambers (as Nancy Chambers), Carolyn Tweedle (as Caroline Tweedle).

Written by Linda Shayne and Jim Wynorski.

Directed by Rafal Zielinski.

As it was with H.O.T.S. , perhaps even more so, when I started this section of the site, I knew I would have to write something about this movie. For I don’t believe there is a film out there that wears its hard-on on its sleeve more shamelessly than this one. Perhaps more to the point, Screwballs is a top-tier example of the Tee-Hee, I’m Naked archetype. And now, a haiku:

Tops pulled off, they pop
Chests and eyes; girlish laughs say
Nudity is keen!

My own little seventeen syllable tribute to the moment when the character of Howie (Deveau), who’s one of that rare breed who I will agree could indeed be called either a nerd or a geek (not to get into that particular semantic debate in this moment), is being pursued out onto the swimming pool diving board by the cheerleading team owing to a scheme the ludicrous specifics of which you wouldn’t believe if I told them to you. Faced with an imminent plunge, Howie desperately grabs the bikini tops of the two front girls and subsequently takes them with him into the drink. (The main proof that this is not, indeed, a cartoon is that, if it were, the bikini tops would have transformed into parachutes.) The girls initially look shocked but in the very next shot they’ve already moved on to jiggling and giggling.

The plot? Let us briefly contemplate The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. In that absurdist classic, a group of upper middle class twits repeatedly attempt, and are repeatedly thwarted in said attempts, to sit down to a meal. Now, replace ‘upper middle class twits’ with ‘horny high school morons’ and ‘sit down to a meal’ with ‘get a look at an uptight girl’s bazoombas’ and voila! Almost makes one wonder what might have resulted had Buñuel made a teen sex comedy, almost as much as it makes one certain that it wouldn’t have been this.

The film doesn’t have any “stars,” per se, although I’m told that top-billed Peter Keleghan is a well-known comedic actor in Canada, and he is funny as Rick, the smarmy creep “cool” guy of the gang, and even manages to make the character somewhat appealing in moments. Apart from that, people may recognize Linda Shayne, whose character Bootsie has a memorable encounter with the back door of a van (an indignity Ms. Shayne may have inflicted upon herself, seeing as she co-wrote the screenplay with trash auteur Jim Wynorski), as Miss Salmon from Humanoids from the Deep, and there is the inevitable appearance by a stripper, this one kindly provided by the legendary Raven De La Croix.

How can you argue the merit of a movie that finds humor in names such as T&A High, Jerkoffski, and Principal Stuckoff, a man whose name was made for a filthy limerick the film doesn’t even have the decency to deliver? What to make of the dubious pleasure of watching a girl slide a whole knockwurst down her throat when you consider what that might do to her digestion? Is the pinnacle of physics truly its application in the field of upskirt? Is it really true that a good orgasm can improve your bowling game? I seem to have wandered a bit. (And yet, I haven’t.)

In short, how do you defend the indefensible? Simply by invoking the age-old trash trailer mantra: keep repeating to yourself, it’s only a movie. I’ll leave the crises of conscience to corporate plunderers, fundie hatemongers, and Bush supporters. (Plenty of crossover there, of course, and, by the way, good luck with that, right?)

But, no, I can’t really defend this movie except in the old fallback of nostalgia for my once-burgeoning libido. I can’t even say that it presents the female characters as strong figures, jiggle notwithstanding, as is the case with H.O.T.S. The girls of Screwballs are objects, if remarkably game objects. Even villainess Purity Busch (the baroquely delectable Speciale) is brimming with vivacity, in her own teasing way, as in the scene where she sleep-humps her teddy bear. As they run around in form-fitting garments or naked (tee-hee), one could almost say that they are enacting a pageant to celebrate the overwhelming joy to be found in the contours of the female breast. Yeah, I’ll roll with that. It especially appeals to me in as much as it’s simultaneously completely true and an utter crock of shit.