Breasts, bazooms, bazongas, call them what you will, boobs put asses in seats. Mainly male asses, ages 18 to 34, but no matter your age, gender or sexual preference, a pair of bare breasts tends to attract attention. SCREWBALLS is entirely based around just such a notion. A parody of the teen sex films that preceded it, SCREWBALLS doesn't bother with traditional film trappings like a plot or character development. Instead the picture presents an endless string of crass sight gags and locker-room humor, used primarily as buffer, allowing for several random sets-ups in which to see an actress topless. In short, the film's pretty stupid but brother, does it have a lot of naked ladies. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.
T & A High’s resident ladies man Rick McKay (Peter Keleghan, GINGER SNAPS), portly buffoon Melvin Jerkovski (Jason Warren), uber-nerd Howie Bates (Alan Deveau), trust fund baby Brent Van Dusen III (Kent Deuters) and new kid Tim Stevenson (Jim Coburn) find a common bond while spending time in detention one afternoon; Purity Busch (Linda Speciale), the school's sole standing virgin and the very definition of a cock tease. United by their detest of Purity’s conniving conduct and their desire to see her without her top on, the five men band together with the goal of uncovering what Purity so loves to flaunt but refuses to expose, her boobs. Naturally in their quest to glimpse a pair of unattainable titties, hijinks ensue, leading to a hypnotized swim team, a PTA punch bowl spiked with Spanish fly and Howie getting his junk stuck in a bowling ball.
The film's humor is overly juvenile and often tactless in its delivery but that is kind of the point. Either way the film's jokes, robust as they may be, are secondary when compared to the picture's main selling point, sex, or to more specific, boobs. First to display her worldly talents is Jennifer Inch, star of LADY LIBERTINE, which was shot around the same time as SCREWBALLS. She has no lines and her appearance is brief but her performance as breast examinee #1 sets an early and auspicious tone that is thankfully followed through. Co-writer Linda Shayne was at one pointed considered for the role of both Purity Busch and Bootsie Goodhead, with the latter thankfully being chosen. Purity may have been the focal point of the film but the role of Bootsie allowed Linda to shed her inhibitions on more than one occasion and provides, at least in this reviewers humble opinion, SCREWBALLS crowning boob shot. Taking place at the local drive-in, Bootsie’s date with Tim is cut short when Tim overhears his younger sister one row over, on a date of her own with none other than Brent. A scuffle ensues as Tim reminds Brent of the consequences of going after his sister, leaving Bootsie alone in a rather compromising and pressing situation. Other “performances” of note include those of Kim Cayer (PSYCHO GIRLS), Terrea Foster (ODDBALLS) and last, but in no way, shape or form least, Raven De La Croix. Raven, who is probably best recognizable as the busty brunette from Russ Meyer’s UP!, plays a stripper named Miss Anna Tommical, who teases and titillates not only the five high school boys but their principal, Mr. Stuckoff (Donnie Bowes) as well.
The brain child of writers Jim Wynorski (CHOPPING MALL) and Linda Shayne, the two wrote SCREWBALLS, originally titled Crazy Times, with mega producer Roger Corman in mind. Per the King of the B’s instruction, Jim and Linda educated themselves as to the subtle nuances of the genre by reviewing every likeminded comedy in theaters at the time, such as FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN and of course PORKY'S. There are several nods to Corman’s influence and guidance throughout the picture, such as when the gang visits the Te-Pee Drive-In to see “THE WILD WOMEN OF WANGO”, not to be confused with James L. Wolcott’s THE WILD WOMEN OF WONGO. Despite the title, what is actually shown is footage of the Roger Corman-produced THE ARENA, staring Pam Grier and Margaret Markov. Posters for several Corman pictures, such as MACHINE-GUN KELLY (why is there not a readily available DVD for this title?), can also be spotted throughout the production.
Originally available for home viewing via VHS (released by Warner Home Video), Severin Films has seen fit to bring BALLS into the twenty-first century by way of DVD and Blu-ray, with a host of extras in tow. Telecined from a 16mm internegative, culled from the New Horizons Picture Corporation vault, SCREWBALLS is presented in anamorphic widescreen, preserving the film's original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Minor dots and scratches tend to pepper the proceedings but nothing so distracting as to take away from the films fast paced barrage of raunchy fun. Otherwise the film holds up well with solid coloring and fair detail. Audio is on hand in Dolby Digital 2.0 English language track that does a serviceable job of dialogue but again, it’s the visuals that sell the picture. You could watch SCREWBALLS on mute and the film's humor would still strike a cord.
Extras include a commentary track with director Rafal Zielinski who found himself quite the sex comedy nitch after SCREWBALLS, as he went on to direct not only its sequel, LOOSE SCREWS, but RECRUITS (think POLICE ACADMEY), STATE PARK and SCREWBALL HOTEL as well. Rafal is also featured in an on camera interview (11:01) in which he discuses how he happened about SCREWBALLS and how he approached the material as a comic book. The interviews continue with co-writers Jim Wynorski and Linda Shayne (18:35), who together recollect their time together writing the picture as well as their dealings and connections to B movie producer extraordinaire, Roger Corman. Jim, who at the time was working in the marketing department for Corman, also speaks of designing SCREWBALLS' memorable poster (duplicated for the cover of this release) in which he used Linda as a model for the faceless "every" girl getting hounded by a boxer-clad boy grasping at her undergarments. No mention is however made of the film's Spanish language poster, released under the title Los Rompecocos, which features a faceless male being chassed by a female, this time tugging on his heart-adorned boxers. It should also be noted that Linda, who still looks amazing, does a damn near spot on impression of Corman.
Kent Deuters recounts his tenure at Taft & Adams in an eight minute interview, further expanded how the film came to fruition. Kent originally auditioned for the role of Rick but was happy to take any part given the script's promising nature. Special FX Artist Gerald Lubaniuk recollections (6:43) add more to the technical side of making SCREWBALLS, where as Canuxploitation scholar Paul Corupe (7:51) places the film in its proper place in cinematic history, as one of the brightest of the “BALL” films, e.g., ODDBALLS, FIREBALLS, etc. Interviews are rounded out by an almost nine minute visit with Mr. Skin, who waxes poetic not only for his love of SCREWBALLS but for the teen sex films of the mid 1980s in general. Twelve alternate and deleted scenes are also included. Transferred from an aging Spanish VHS tape, they provide for added titillation as well as appreciation for Severin’s much improved transfer of the film. The Spanish speaking additions also elaborate, albeit briefly, on a number of scenes, such as providing the title of the Drive-In’s second feature, THE BIG BUST OUT. The film's original theatrical trailer rounds out this releases special features. (Jason McElreath)
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