Porky’s Revenge

August 4, 2011

The saga began with a brilliantly marketed little sleaze comedy that turned up during a slack spring season a couple of years ago and chalked up astounding box-office numbers. Its teaser ads promised plenty of raunchy action, and Porky’s delivered the goods, which is more than you can say for many teen-oriented comedies.

Perhaps that was the key to the success of Porky’s—it went all the way. No leering sexual situation went unmentioned, no naughty word unspoken, and no body part un-referred to. (It also shrewdly employed a revenge plot in service of its comedy.)

Naturally, a sequel was in order, and writer-director Bob Clark, the auteur of Porky’s, gathered together  the same cast and filmed Porky’s 2: The Next Day, which continued the exploits of a ’50s-era Florida high-school class, their battles with teachers, and their unpleasant confrontations with a corpulent casino owner named Porky.

It’s time for Book Three, and Porky’s Revenge takes up the odyssey of the seniors at Angel Beach High as they approach graduation—this time without the filmmaking services of Bob Clark, who has gone on to direct such gems as Rhinestone. Taking over the reins is director James Komack, who has guided many TV sitcoms over the years, including “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”

Well, the tender sentiments of that TV show are all behind Komack now. Porky’s Revenge fulfills its goal of being just as filthy as the original Porky’s. It’s also every bit as unfunny.

This one hinges on Angel High’s championship basketball game, which figures in a gambling scam that Porky is pulling. But this plot, if we may call it that, is a poor excuse for standard shenanigans sprung from a prurient 16-year-old mentality. There’s something about a Swedish sex film, a nude swimming party, and a mistaken-identity seduction scene that borrows from Measure for Measure.

On second thought, scratch Measure for Measure. It is doubtful whether anyone involved in the production here ever read the play.

There’s also a pair of teachers who engage in kinky sex to the tune of “Mack the Knife” (these acts are photographed and used for blackmail by our heroes). Teacher, naturally, are portrayed as sexual psychopaths of every kind—the filmmakers know which side the audience’s bread is buttered on.

The main thing, of course, is looking at girls and commenting on their gazoobies (spelling approximate), a term which may or may not have been popular during the Eisenhower years. That remains the dominant cinematic motif in all the Porky’s films.

The cast is the same group of unknowns that have been frolicking about in every entry thus far. Out of charity, they shall remain unnamed, but we can take consolation in at least one undeniable fact of life: they are all getting older, and they won’t be able to play high-school kids much longer. That could spell the end of the Porky’s cycle. Then again, that may be underestimating the savvy of the relentless producers of these movies.

First published in the Herald, March 1985

I no longer recall the exact nature of the mistaken-identity seduction scene, nor whether it actually has anything to do with Measure for Measure. But I do remember what a drag these movies were, and how the first one went through the roof and pointed the way toward many a future raunchfest. Meanwhile, James Komack—remember Jimmy Komack? A busy TV director and writer, used to act quite a bit, turned up on talk shows pretty often as an exemplary Seventies guy. I wonder why he ended up getting connected to this junk. (Various online sources, without quite confirming it, suggest that Komack was the illegitimate son of Milton Berle, which is something to think about.) This film indeed ended the series, unless persistent rumors of Howard Stern being associated with a remake are true.