A MAURICE SMITH PRODUCTION - 1983, Starring
Peter Keleghan, Lynda Shayne, Kent Deuthers, Assistant Director Mike Dolgy, Directed by Rafal Zielinski.
" ... In Canada, the early 1980's saw a run of juvenile comedies, influenced indirectly
by the more political "maple porn films" made in Quebec. The maple porn movies filled a niche, delivering naughty comedy films
that Quebec audiences had not been able to see due to censorship for so many years. The "screwball" comedies also filled a
niche towards teenagers, another audience who were ostensibly forbidden to see the nudity which these films promised to deliver.
With the advent of pay-per-view and the VCR, teenagers were able to bypass the ratings which restricted them from
seeing these films in the theatres. This is especially important for Canadian teens. Whereas the American "R" let a minor
in if accompanied by an adult, an "R" rating in most provinces was the same as an American "X" ... no one under 18 admitted.
Bob Clark must have known this when he made Porky's (1980), a coming-of-age story with enough nudity to excite
the younger generation while paying lip service to an adult audience of baby boomers by being set in the 1950's. Clark's film,
was a smash hit, and even today holds the domestic box office record for a Canadian film. And thus was born the "screwball
comedy," a new genre which can be summed up in one phrase: boys trying to catch glimpses of nude women.
idea was combined with the "zany" comedy of previous films like Caddyshack, Meatballs and Animal House,
video store shelves were suddenly crammed with a slew of imitators and eventual sequels. These were comfortably indicated
to naive 1980's video store patrons by titles which made frequent use of the word "balls." After directing producer Maurice
Smith's Screwballs, Rafal Zielinski captured the market on Canadian sex comedy knock-offs with Smith's Screwballs
2 (1985, takes place in a high school) and Recruits (1986, police station). Rounding out the other non-Zielinski
entries in this esteemed Canadian subgenre are Oddballs (Smith-produced again) (1984, summer camp), Goofballs
(1987, golf resort), and of course Ski School (1991, ski resort) and Ski School 2 (1993, ski resort).
it all began with the first Canadian riff on Porky's, Maurice Smith's classic teen comedy Screwballs. The video
box art is reminiscent of Porky's famous poster right down to the choice of font, and the plot description on the back
takes great pains to further link the two films. We are informed that Screwballs was written by the team behind Porky's
script, and that "Screwballs wins the prize for the most totally awesome, raucously raunchy comedy of the year!" Roger
Corman's name is also repeatedly dropped, but it is unclear exactly what his connection to the film is.
one fine day, five male students at T & A High School (the rich jock, the ladies man, the naive transfer student, the
fat guy and the nerd) make a pact to see the last virgin in their class (Purity Busch) naked by the homecoming dance. Oddly
enough, their increasingly bizarre schemes involve seeing the breasts of just about every other girl in the class except for
Purity's. The nerd tries to hypnotize her, the fat guy hides beneath her in the sand while she sunbathes and the jock dumps
a batch of Spanish Fly in the school punch bowl. The ladies man poses as a breast inspector and as a home economics teacher
taking measurements for homecoming dresses. The comedy apparently plateaus during a game of strip bowling when the nerd gets
stuck in a bowling ball. And I'm not talking about his finger.
Finally, the five guys team up and put together a plan
which involves sewing metal bars in Purity's dress and rigging the gym with giant magnets. As Purity rises to the top of the
homecoming stage to sing the national anthem (and I'm not talking about "O Canada"), the nerd throws the switch. Hilarity
Screwballs comes off like a bunch of disjointed comedy segments structured loosely around the theme
of breasts. The main difference between Porky's and Screwballs is that Porky's was filmed mostly in Florida,
while Screwballs was done in Ontario, as revealed by a scene which takes place at Pickering, Ontario's Te-Pee Indoor
Outdoor Drive-In (which closed in 1997).
Like Porky's, Screwballs takes place in the 1950s, but it matters
even less this time. Classic automobiles are about the only thing that will gently remind you of this, but other elements,
such as the clothing, skin mags, and the Pam Grier movie showing at the drive-in (The Arena, 1970) give this movie
a timeless quality. Timeless as in, "What decade is this again?"
Is it fun to watch? As far as these movies go, yes.
At the very least, the cheesy "lewd" teenage humour of Screwballs is funnier than American knock-offs like Police
Academy, and less mean-spirited than the current gross-out frat comedies like American Pie ...".