I’m a big fan of AIP’s beach party movies! You know, Frankie & Annette and the gang! This isn’t high art we’re talking about here, but dang those movies are fun! As we moved into the 70’s and 80’s, though, the beach party genre shifted a bit and merged with the teen sex comedy genre. This sucked a lot of the good-natured fun out of the beach. Today’s film may be one of the worst offenders. From 1982, brace yourself for “The Beach Girls.”
A brainy but cute college girl named Sarah (Debra Blee) has come out to LA to spend the summer staying in the beach house of her uncle Carl (Adam Roarke). Sarah’s two best friends, Ginger (Val Kline) and Ducky (Jeana Tomasina) are also driving out to spend the summer in the house. Along the way, they meet a handsome blonde hitchhiker named Scott (James Daughton…Gregg Marmalard from “Animal House”) who they gladly bring with them to the beach house.
When they all arrive at the house, Scott and Sarah immediately start making goo-goo eyes at each other while the other two attend to important business. Namely, throwing a party. Problem is, they don’t know anybody in LA. Luckily, these two know how get guests and get them quick…they start calling various repair and delivery services looking for cute delivery boys to make a house call. Before you know it, the house is party central. Of course, goody goody Sarah is not completely on board with this. Even less thrilled is nosy neighbor Mrs. Binker (Mary Jo Catlett…Pearl from Diff-rent Strokes) who alerts Uncle Carl, prompting a visit.
When Uncle Carl arrives, the house is an absolute disaster. He decides he has no choice but to remove the bad influence. He allows Sarah to stay, but decides she needs to have Ginger and Ducky leave. Overhearing this, these two rejects from Girls Gone Wild decide they need to change Uncle Carl’s mind…which means getting, shall we say “friendly” with him in his sauna and other places.
While all this is going on, we also occasionally are treated to the exploits of a coast guard ship which is after some drug smugglers. This leads to large garbage bags of marijuana being dumped overboard and, of course, being found by Ginger and Ducky. This becomes the fuel for more of their parties. More craziness ensues when the nosy neighbor informs Uncle Carl’s fiancee (Fern Fitzgerald) of his adventures with college girls, leading to her stopping by with her kung fu chauffeur. Meanwhile, Sarah struggles with trying to catch Scott’s attention with so many other party girls around to distract him.
I’ve watched a lot of movies for this blog. I’ve seen some great ones, I’ve seen some lousy ones…but this may be the lowest of the low. Now, Debra Blee is cute and does a decent-ish job in the brainy but sexy department…but that’s about all this movie has going for it. Val Kline and Jeana Tomasino are just awful! Their scenes are filled with awkward pauses as they try to remember their lines. When they do get their dialogue out, it’s stilted and unnatural sounding. As they explore the beach house for the first time one of them displays their excitement with the presumably improvised line, “Wow, this is neat!!” Really!?! Former Playboy Playmate Tomasino would later go on to roles in a series of ZZ Top videos. No dialogue there.
I guess I just find it all a bit sad. I like my beach parties done Frankie & Annette style! The gang all heads down to the beach…everyone’s welcome! Dick Dale and the Deltones will play a few songs, maybe Little Stevie Wonder stops by. The only thing you have to worry about is that Eric Von Zipper might show up. It’s fun! It’s not a couple of incoherent bubble heads trying to seduce their best friend’s uncle so he’ll let them stay in his beach house!
I can’t say I had high expectations for “The Beach Girls,” but I certainly wasn’t expecting something this awful. If this is what became of the beach party genre, Frankie & Annette deserved better.