It is time for us to return to the valley of the Coreys. That’s right, smack in the middle of the eight or so films that Corey Feldman and Corey Haim made together, there was one that bore the name National Lampoon. My guess is the pair saw that this particular vehicle took place at a tropical beach resort and figured it was a nice way to get a paid vacation. Be sure to pack your sunscreen and flip flops for 1993’s National Lampoon’s Last Resort.
The film centers on two losers named Sam (Feldman) and Dave (Haim). Really!? Sam and Dave? Anyhow, these guys are barely holding down jobs in a Detroit fast food joint, that is until they accidentally blow the place up. Luckily, at that moment they get word from Sam’s uncle Rex (Geoffrey Lewis) who runs a fledgling beach resort in the Caribbean. Rex is a former star of swashbuckling films who is still hassled by his former onscreen nemesis, Hemlock (Robert Mandan). Hemlock is anxious to swipe the resort out from under Rex, who can barely pay his bills. So the boys sign on as scuba instructors to help out. Somehow they also have the rest of the staff believing that they are connected with the CIA.
Thinking that top government agents have been brought in to help Rex, Hemlock sends out his own goons to start sabotaging the resort. He also dispatches the lovely Alex (Demetra Hampton) to seduce Sam and get him to convince Rex to sign over the deed to the resort to Hemlock. As for Dave, he’s too busy trying to romance Sonja (Maureen Flannigan), the resort’s resident geeky cute girl. Eventually, our gang of doofuses figure out that the only way to save the resort is to locate the buried treasure that legend has it is hidden on the island.
National Lampoon’s Last Resort is a half-hearted attempt at the slobs vs snobs comedy formula. One of the key elements of that style is a fun rag-tag group of “heroes” to root for. I don’t know if I could root for this cast of characters if they were trying to swim for shore through shark infested waters. The one somewhat fun character is Sonja, who is obsessed with worshiping some kind of island god named Ya-Ya. Maureen Flannigan actually has a certain spark that makes her one of the few bright spots in this cast. The rest of the gang is just a resort employee dubbed Flash (named such for his proclivity for exposing himself), a few weirdo tourists, and the thoroughly unfunny and downright annoying leads. The Coreys literally stumble their way through this film. It’s clear in several sequences that they are coming up with their dialogue on the spot, ability to actually improvise be damned.
Story wise, the film is a mess of brain farts that someone probably scribbled on gum wrappers and then assembled into a script. Most of it doesn’t make a lick of sense. I mean, somehow Rex gets it in his mind that his nephew Sam (who he’s never met) is a scuba diving expert…who lives in Detroit?! Later, Hemlock gets all out-of-sorts because he thinks the boys are CIA agents there to help Rex save his hotel…because the CIA is totally in the business of helping brokedown beach resorts avoid bankruptcy!?! Now, I know you’re not supposed to take everything so seriously when it comes to comedies, but come on, you’ve got to at least have one toe dipped in the kiddie pool of reality.
Then again, this film is not really all that concerned with reality. It does seem to be attempting a bit of an absurdist approach to the humor, but even that ends up falling face first into the sand. We get a brief subplot where Corey Feldman starts to fall for a mermaid. Okay, whatever, I can go with you on this one, I guess. Then Feldman ruins it when explaining his obsession with the mermaid to Haim by uttering the line, “I always wondered where you put it.” I don’t think there’s been a worse movie quote in the 25 years that have passed since this film was first released. Another awful sequence tries for the absurdist humor and fails with a game show to determine who gets the treasure. The old hermit that runs the game show is played by Poltergeist’s Zelda Rubinstein. It all starts innocently enough, but before long we’re watching a contest where the winner is determined by who has the longest dong. This film has to have been written by a twelve-year-old.
Now, this film does have a bit of controversy surrounding it today. It seems that one of the other cast members’ names has come up as being involved in the alleged molestation of Corey Haim throughout his teenage years. I’ll say nothing more than that, except that it’s not Roger Clinton, brother of the former President who plays a mob goon in one scene. But no matter how you slice it, this is a messed up movie. It’s unfunny and amateurishly made, but at least it’s title accurately describes the place it should take when determining what to watch…it’s a “last resort.”