Summer School Review
By Christopher Null
Summer School may not teach us much about life and love, but if there was any justice in the world we'd be seeing reruns of this on TNT every Sunday instead of endless repeats of Sixteen Candles and its ilk.
Summer School is a lame and obvious stunt piece, but damn if it doesn't know it. Mark Harmon's a lazy teacher stuck with the worst students in school for summer classes. Eventually he's tasked with getting them to pass The Big Test, only to find that they're completely unmotivated and that one of them is totally illiterate. In fact, his job is on the line if they fail. What happens next is probably familiar to anyone who went to high school in America: The students bargain with the teacher; they'll try hard if he lets them use his car, throw a party in his house, and so on.
A stretch? OK, sure. It's stupid. I freely admit it. But on watching the new DVD of Summer School I was shocked -- shocked -- by how many of its one-liners have become classics. See if these sound familiar:
"Please take your seats.""Where should we take 'em?"
(screaming, then:) "Tension breaker. Had to be done."
"It was an accident. I'll take it again. I can fail, I know I can."
The best gags come courtesy of two horror-obsessed cut-ups, culminating in a priceless moment where the whole class re-enacts a blood-and-guts scenario in order to scare off a substitute. It works, and it sticks in your mind. They just don't make comedies like this any more. I mean, they do, but they probably won't be any good for another decade or so until they've fully immatured.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Wednesday 22nd July 1987
Distributed by: Paramount Home Video
Production compaines: Lima Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 11
Cast & Crew
Starring: John Laughlin as Steve (as John McLaughlin), Shelly Horner as Anita, Phoebe Schmidt as Jill, Verkina Flower as Donna, Steven Rose as Pledge, Nancy Herr as Lisa
Also starring: Mark Harmon, Kirstie Alley, Robin Thomas, Patrick Labyorteaux, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Dean Cameron, Gary Riley, Kelly Jo Minter, Ken Olandt, Shawnee Smith, Richard Steven Horvitz, Fabiana Udenio, George Shapiro, Howard West, Jeff Franklin