North Shore / Disorderlies

August 5, 2011

North Shore is an inoffensive offspring of the granddaddy of ’60s surfing films, The Endless Summer. It presents an insipid story laced with surfing philosophy and music, wrapped around some nifty stunt footage.

The story is the reliable chestnut about the Arizona surfer kid (Matt Adler) who goes to Hawaii for one gonzo summer before he has to go to college. Once there, he will prove himself before the local bad guys, romance a young wahini (Nia Peeples), and receive the wisdom of the waves from a sort of Zen surfmaster (Gregory Harrison).

It’s formulaic nonsense, but surprisingly easy to take (and remarkably well-timed, given surfing’s cultural resurgence). Some of the stunt photography is good, and there are a few shots where the camera is actually inside the curl of a wave. For those of us too lily-livered to stand on a surfboard, this is the closest we’ll probably ever get to a wipe-out.

But the best thing about the movie is the Eastern wisdom of the phlegmatic Harrison, who disdains competitions and show-off surfing. He says things such as, “He surfs for all the wrong reasons,” and “The pure surfer goes with the wave.” Best line goes to the hero’s girlfriend, who implores him after a spat: “Can’t we find a beach and talk?” Ah, Hawaii.

On an entirely less Zen-like level is Disorderlies, a slob comedy featuring the rap group, The Fat Boys, heretofore glimpsed in Krush Groove. This ramshackle excuse for a movie has been rather astonishingly picked up for distribution by Warner Bros.

The Fat Boys consist of Damon “Kool Rock-Ski” Wimbley, Mark “Prince Markie Dee” Morales, and Darren “The Human Beat Box” Robinson. Their names are the funniest things about them.

The movie casts them as orderlies hired by a mean wimp (Anthony “King Rock Tony” Geary) who wants his rich uncle (Ralph “The Human Groove Master” Bellamy) to die. Naturally, the hefty trio play havoc on Bellamy’s mansion, but win their way into the old codger’s heart in the end.

The comedic style is along the lines of the Three Stooges and Jerry Lewis. There are many fat jokes, and one good line of dialogue (the guys walk into a room furnished with priceless antiques, and one declares, “Man, this guy don’t throw away anything.”). After a half hour or so, the joke—you should pardon the phrase—runs thin.

First published in the Herald, August 19, 1987

Some fond memories of North Shore, mostly because of my weakness for surf-related pictures (and I’m not really so lily-livered, at least not about trying to surf, but the opportunity has been nonexistent, unfortunately). I suppose the key to my embarrassing affection for this movie is buried in the credits: “Story by Randal Kleiser.” The man who made Summer Lovers gets me again. As for Disorderlies, I’m afraid I didn’t keep up with the Fat Boys the way I should have, so I don’t have much to add. I much prefer the Tashlin-Lewis Disorderly Orderly, which I recommend for its sight (and sound) gags and some vintage Lewis babbling: “Oh, friction—burning….”