Porky’s (1981)

(On DVD, June 2011) For decades, Porky’s kept a place in film history as an unexpected answer to the question “What’s the highest-grossing Canadian movie of all time?”  It isn’t much of a claim to fame, but it got me interested enough to give it a look.  What has made it to 2011 isn’t much of a classic.  Porky’s isn’t particularly raunchy by the standards of the films it influenced, but it’s certainly unsophisticated, low-budget, scattered and badly structured.  The plot often goes away for a while, returning in-between practical joke set-pieces and other slice of 1950s life as seen from the early eighties.  Feeling a bit long even at 94 minutes, the film is almost pathologically male-centric (women characters are either jokes or cyphers), and feels bigoted even despite some lip-service paid to race-blind male bonding.  Still, there’s something almost endearing about the hormone-driven characters, the carefree atmosphere of movie comedy high-schools and the low-stakes nature of the subplots.  There’s also a pleasing quality to the abundant dialogue between the characters, and a nice fluidity to the way the camera moves in a few scenes.  As far as historical impact goes, Kim Cattrall makes a howling impression in a secondary role; more seriously, you can almost see in Porky’s the blueprint for countless other teenage sex comedies leading straight to American Pie and its ilk.  It’s neither particularly sophisticated nor memorable, but it’s not an entire waste of time.  The “25th anniversary Edition” DVD has no extra features (not even subtitles) and the picture often shows signs of digital over-compression, which is enough to make anyone wonder how bad the regular DVD edition can be.

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