SCREWBALLS starts as it means to go on, with a catchy bubblegum pop song playing as big-titted girls in tight tops arrive at Taft And Adams (T&A, get it?) High School for the day. Moments later, in their vintage cars, the horny jocks turn up for class too.

Next, we witness handsome young Rick (Peter Keleghan) posing as the school's medical examiner. He has girls queuing up in their bras to be inspected by him. Meanwhile, sultry French teacher Miss Boudoir (Kimberly Brooks) gives herself orgasms with her own sexy accent, and when she leaves the classroom to relieve herself, Brent (Kent Deuters) mocks her accent - only to get caught in the act.

Elsewhere, new transfer student Tim (Jim Coburn) is tricked into strolling into the girls' locker room, while compulsive wanker Melvin (Jason Warren) gets caught giving himself a tug in the pantry.

Completing this quintet is nerdy pervert Howie (Alan Deveau), whose attempt at looking up skirts via strategically placed mirrors is also rumbled.

The five boys are each given detention for five days. During their punishment at the hands of puritanical Principal Stuckoff (Donnie Bowes) - "Stuckoff can fuck off", quips Brent - the boys set their sights on the school's prom queen Purity (Linda Speciale), a gorgeous girl who's notoriously prim. No-one has even seen her breasts, it seems.

Is she a stuck-up virgin? Rick sets a challenge to the group - at least one of them must find out, and get to see Purity naked, before homecoming ...

Plotwise, that's about as far as SCREWBALLS makes it. From here on in, it unfurls as a rapid succession of vignette-style jokes of a crude nature. With more sexual innuendos than a bad Def Leppard song, even the character names are comically smutty - blonde bimbo Bootsie Goodhead (Linda Shayne) and Melvin Jerkovski being but two examples.

SCREWBALLS is pure daft irreverence from it's beginning to the silly end. There are no serious subtexts, no subversive undercurrents, no subtle comments on the youth of the day hidden in the script: it's a farce, through and through.

From one madcap set-piece to the next (one character gets his cock stuck in a bowling ball; an unsuccessful attempt at hypnotism in a bid to get Purity to lower her moral guard), the pace is unrelenting and the plot strictly of no relevance whatsoever as SCREWBALLS pile-drives through as many verbal and sight gags as it can. Inevitably, only a fraction of them work, but that guarantees the occasional laugh at the very least.

The bawdiness of the film seems positively twee in this day and age, and the sex content is decidedly less than I remember from watching this with mates as a horny teenager. But with it's catchy pop tunes and boundless energy from the smiling young cast, it's impossible not to warm to SCREWBALLS and join in with it's good-natured winks through a succession of otherwise lame knob and tit gags.

The film is presented uncut in a superior 1.66:1 transfer, enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Colours are strong and accurate, blacks never falter and grain is kept to a healthy natural sheen. Although not pristine, this is a remarkable presentation for a film that has been relatively little-seen for over two decades.

English audio is presented in its original 2.0 track, and it's a nicely clean and consistent proposition throughout.

The static main menu page leads into a static scene-selection menu allowing access to the main feature via 16 chapters.

An array of interesting extra features begins with an extremely entertaining and surprisingly informative commentary track from director Rafal Zielinski. Moderated effectively by Severin head honcho David Gregory and John Creegan, Zielinski is well humoured and blessed with a better memory for fine details than you'd expect. It's a good, occasionally funny listen.

This is followed closely by a host of recently recorded interviews.

The first, directed by Gregory, is an 11-minute chat with director Zielinski. He talks comfortably to the screen about the shoot and how the public reacted to the film, along with touching upon other films from his career. The interview is interspersed with grainy, windowboxed clips from SCREWBALLS. Although there's nothing here that doesn't get covered in the commentary track, it's a welcome inclusion regardless.

More inferior-quality clips from the main feature are filtered into an engaging 18-minute retrospective with co-writers Shayne and Jim Wynorski, who both giggle through their fond memories of their time on the film. Shayne's aged well, it must be said.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Deuters, who's put a fair bit of beef on over the years. Still, he's in good spirits for his 8-minute talking head-style interview, even when recalling the film's unrelenting shooting schedule. He also manages a couple of stories about his fellow cast members, and reminisces over how he got the gig.

Special FX artist Gerald Lukaniuk is a surprise addition to the disc, contributing a further 7 minutes of revealing insights into how he achieved some of the basic visual effects.

"Canuxploitation scholar" Paul Corupe is on hand next for an 8-minute appreciation of SCREWBALLS and other Canadian schlock of its era. Corupe smiles through his explanation of how films were financed through tax fiddles, and led to low budget showstoppers such as CANNIBAL GIRLS and SHIVERS.

Mr Skin and his "head writer" McBeardo then turn up to offer 8 more minutes discussing the merits of "Sex Comedies of the 80s".

The original theatrical trailer for SCREWBALLS also features, looking cleaner than I'd anticipated. It's a fun, bubblegum trailer that last 2 minutes. Finally, we get a dozen VHS-sourced deleted scenes of little consequence to plot or pace. A sub-menu allows you to view these scenes individually, and they're presented in a lousy windowboxed 4:3 quality with Spanish audio and new optional English subtitles. A disclaimer does indeed warn of the "low resolution" quality of these short clips taken from an old Spanish video release.

SCREWBALLS is puerile and hackneyed. It's clumsily cobbled together and is hard to laugh at once you're no longer a teenager. But there's an undeniable charm to it. Whether it be it's naivety in this age of uber-crude comedies such as KNOCKED UP and SEX LIVES OF THE POTATOMEN, or perhaps it's just down to the nostalgia this film is sure to affect in anyone in their thirties or above. Whatever the reason, it's still strangely appealing and stands up as a film whose sense of fun rubs off on the viewer. Oo-er.

This superb release is also available, remarkably, on blu-ray.

Review by Stu Willis

Released by Severin Films
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review