From the Roger Corman Comedy Collection comes the film Beach Balls (1988), directed by Joe Ritter (The New Gladiators), and featuring Philip Paley, in his only film credit (so far)...what's that? You don't recognize the name Philip Paley? Perhaps you're more familiar with his alter ego of Cha-Ka, the monkey boy, from the mid 1970s Sid and Marty Krofft television series "Land of the Lost", a role many mistakenly credit to Clint Howard, only because Clint actually looks more like Cha-Ka without makeup than Paley did with makeup...also appearing in this film is Heidi Helmer (Porky's Revenge), Amanda Goodwin (Working Girls), Steven Tash (Christine, Ghost Busters), Leslie Danon (Sometimes They Come Back... Again), Tod Bryant, Raf Mauro (They Call Me Bruce?), and Gary Schneider (The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'Em High).
Charlie Harrison (Paley) has a problem (well, a few of them, to be exact)...he's had the fever for the flavor of a little beach bunny named Wendy (Helmer) for quite a while, but seems she's only interested in guys who are musicians, particularly the lead singer of a local band called Severed Heads in a Bag. Not only that, but he has to contend with a puritanical mother who spends her days playing records backwards looking for hidden, Satanic messages, his prissy, uptight, tattletale sister Kathleen (Danon), along with making regular visits to his probation officer (Charlie got busted for driving a stolen car he didn't know was stolen)...oh yeah, he also needs some filthy lucre to by an axe (geetar) so he can make points with Wendy. Charlie, along with his pal Scully (Tash) manage to hook up with Wendy and her friend at a local club (Charlie happens to know the lead singer, and Wendy asks him to introduce her), but things go sour as Wendy's overprotective, narcissistic, slightly gender confused brother Doug (Bryant), who works as a lifeguard and who Charlie's sister Kathleen has the hots for, shows up looking to save Wendy from moral corruption. Anyway, when Charlie's parents announce they're go out of town he sees an opportunity to score some bread, hosting a rocking bash in their beach home showcasing the band Severed Heads in a Bag. Seems the group needs a place to play as a New York record producer is supposed to be coming into town. Hmmm...I get the feeling something may happen at the party, preventing the lead guitarist from performing, opening the door for Charlie to showcase his talents, perhaps winning the affections of his dream girl...just a hunch. Anyway, the gig's a smash, until some of Doug the Tool's jocko schlomo friends show up, along with some beach punks intent on stealing the admission money Charlie was planning on using to by a geetar...things get out of hand, furniture gets trashed, and Wendy learns her dreamy, creamy affections are misplaced as her would be rock beau is only interested in one thing. To top things off, seems Charlie's parents are coming home early...
Now somewhere along the line I got the impression there was going to be a decent (decent meaning gratuitous) amount of T and A in this film...perhaps it was due to this being a Roger Corman produced 1980s teen comedy with the word `balls' in the title, or maybe it was because of the crudely drawn picture of a top heavy blonde clad in a skimpy bikini featured on the DVD case, I don't know, but there was a conspicuous absence of female skinage throughout this feature. Let it be known I don't need that sort of thing to enjoy a film, but given the genre represented here, one comes into a movie like this with certain expectations (and I ain't talking about the anorexic comic material). If you're interested, there are exactly three scene with some T (but no A), and of the three, only one, which was a bit skimpy, was worthwhile (the last one)...the first, near the beginning, involved an older lady losing her top at the beach (a standard scene in a cheap, beach flick), the second, not too far in, had a skanky groupie getting schtupped stupid by the lead singer of the featured band, and the third, near the end, featured Ms. Danon, who had a spectacular rack at the time, in a short scene, her bounty slightly obscured by her arms. As far as the movie goes, it's your basic, low rent teenage fare with a few laughs, but nothing that sticks to the pan. I found it hard to like Paley's character only because he came off as kind of smarmy at times, and his `off the cuff' smart aleck remarks weren't as funny as they were apparently meant to be...which creates a little bit of a dilemma. If you don't care much for the main character, as you're supposed to here, then what's the point? And this is where the skin comes in, to take your mind off such issues, but as I said, the film was woefully lacking in that department. Ms. Helmer's character was certainly cute, in a perky sort of way, but I found it difficult to believe she was so naïve as to be led into a bedroom by the lead singer of the rock band, whom she'd been making moo moo eyes towards throughout the film, believing he wanted nothing more than to be friends with her. On top of that, she was actually offended after his lusty intentions became clear, as he had no regards for her feelings, only seeing her as another `piece of meat'...bruther...what turnip truck did you fall off of, baby? I guess she'd never heard the phrase `Cash, grass, or ash, no one rides for free'. Of course this set up Charlie to slide in and pick up the pieces, showing her his sensitive side, providing for an exceedingly sappy scene of two virgins falling in love...bleech...I needed this like I needed a leaky colostomy bag. There were a few funny moments far and few between, but otherwise it's a relatively sanitized, predictable feature a little heavy on the sap and light on the skin.
The fullscreen (1.33:1) is fairly clean, probably looking slightly better than most VHS copies floating around. The Dolby Digital stereo audio comes through well, which is good news if you're an indiscriminate fan of, 1980s hair bands (the rock group present in the movie plays about three or four catchy, yet forgettable tunes). There are no extras available on this DVD (there aren't even any chapter stops), but then again, what would be the point? Nobody's going to waste any time or money pulling together a cast and crew commentary or retrospective interviews for this one.