Joe Roth, USA, 1987, 98 min.
CinemaSodomy is our recurring feature where we force each other to watch films that we never would have otherwise.
Sometimes you want a friend to watch a movie for the rush of sharing a meaningful theatrical experience with them. Other times you want that friend to watch a movie purely for the enjoyment of watching them writhe in agony. This is clearly an example of the latter. In olden times, I used to stab TC with sporks stolen from our high school cafeteria. As time has passed and my access to multifunctional plasticware has diminished I have lost my most cherished outlet for expressing my domination over TC…until now! Thanks CinemaSodomy!
I learned of TC’s disdain for Revenge of the Nerds upon purchasing the box set during a recent pilgrimage to the only MovieStop in the wonderful state of New Jersey. I was appalled. Revenge of the Nerds is simply awesome, even if unrealistic(the nerds win? Yeah, right. And one of these days TC might beat me…). It’s the kind of film I would imagine could only instill a (false) sense of hope in TC and other little nerdlings. It is in this spirit (as well as the spirit of the spork attacks of days long gone) that I made TC watch Nerds in Paradise: hope.
The first Revenge of the Nerds was an obnoxious but ultimately harmless frat boy comedy. Riding the coattails of Animal House, the producers did the best they could do with the premise they had. After the success of Revenge of the Nerds, the sequel Revenge of the Nerds 2: Nerds in Paradise takes the mold of the first film and repeats it once again.
Twice removed from the Landis success, this film is a copy of a copy. And just like the quality of a VHS tapes, the films get worse and worse. Based on this film, I can only imagine how horrendous 3 and 4 are.
The second film picks up where the first one left off. The nerds of Lamba Lamba Lamba house have won the battle, but the war is still on. There is an annual meeting of the brotherhood of fraternaties in Florida (they couldn’t afford to film in a real paradise), and the jocks are going to use this opportunity to get revenge of their own.
What follows is the expected shenanigans. The jocks trick the nerds, and then the nerds overcome. Repeat ad nauseum. Punctuate with a song and dance number. The problem here, besides the predictability and the lack of any humour whatsoever, is the inattention to the characters.
The nerds are caricature’s of themeselves from the first film. They exist solely as a counterpoint to the jocks, who exist solely as a counterpoint to the nerds. No characters have any redeeming qualities, and no characters go through any arcs or changes. The exception, at the end, is pure stupidity that the writers threw in for a twist.
The new characters are useless. The hotel manager is the same as the other jocks, the love interest is bland and one-dimensional, and the Mr. Miyagi guy is dirty for dirty’s sake. The additions seemed to be only added to fill in the blanks for people from the first film who (justifiably) did not want to appear in the second.
Revenge of the Nerds is dummed down studio cinema. Harmless if taken in small doses. Revenge of the Nerds 2: Nerds in Paradise, is dumbed down studio cinema, dumbed down. Harmful to humanity. It was made purely to get a quick buck, the profits of which will roll over into a sequel until the films finally become unprofitable. I’m glad my money was not involved in this recursive crap engine. On the other hand, LCD’s money was spent purchasing the box-set of all 4. So when Revenge of the Nerds 5: Nerds vs. Aliens comes out, you know who to blame.