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Revenge Of The Nerds (1984)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox Panty Raid Edition)
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6.8
 / 10
5 votes
Movie Connections:
Revenge Of The Nerds
> Revenge Of The Nerds (1984)
> Revenge Of The Nerds II: Nerds... (1987)
> Revenge Of The Nerds III: The... (1992)
> Revenge Of The Nerds IV: Nerds... (1994)
Genres:
Comedy, Teen Comedy
Director:
Jeff Kanew Jeff Kanew
Starring:
Robert Carradine Robert Carradine
Anthony Edwards Anthony Edwards
Timothy Busfield Timothy Busfield
Andrew Cassese Andrew Cassese
Curtis Armstrong Curtis Armstrong
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Review by Chad
Added: May 03, 2007
Last month, Bob Clark was killed in an automobile accident thanks to a guy who had one too many beers and decided to get behind the wheel. When I heard the news, I immediately looked over the man's career to see which of his films I could cover on this site as a tribute. His two most well-known films (amongst horror fans, anyway) - Black Christmas and Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things - were out of the question since they were both already available on the site. A Christmas Story? Nah... it's a little too early in the year for that sort of movie. Finally, I decided on the Porky's films, but before I could get the discs in my grubby little hands, my fellow reviewer covered them. Not wanting to basically repeat the same things that he had said, I decided not to re-review them... but while I was browsing the 80's comedy selections over at Amazon, I noticed that the Revenge of the Nerds series had recently (well, at the time) gotten released in a nice little box set. So, here we are: film number one from the set.

We all know the story behind this one: two nerdy freshmen - Louis (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) - begin their college years, only to be kicked out of their dorm when the jocks manage to burn their own fraternity house to the ground. The nerds are now forced to live in the gymnasium with more freshmen, and there, they meet the guys who will go on to become their partners throughout the film: the ultra-geek Poindexter (Timothy Busfield), the child prodigy Wormser (Andrew Cassese), the disgusting Booger (Curtis Armstrong), the flaming Lamar (Larry B. Scott), and the stereotypical Asian Takashi (Brian Tochi). These nerds decide to create their own fraternity to compete with the jocks, but it won't be an easy task considering that the college fully supports the athletes in everything that they decide to say and do. Led by Stan Gable (Ted McGinley) and enforced by Ogre (Donald Gibb), Alpha Beta sets out to make the lives of these nerds a living hell... and their Coach (John Goodman) fully supports and helps them.

A film like this just wouldn't get made in this day and age thanks to the stereotypes surrounding... well, just about every social taboo under the sun. You've got the stereotypical Asians, blacks, gays, jocks, geeks, fat girls, and yes, there are even a few jabs taken at straight white males along the way. Making fun of jocks and geeks? That wouldn't be too much a problem today and the fat girl jokes could be done to a certain extent, but everything else would have one group of people or another in an uproar at their portrayal in the media. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't doubt for a moment if that's the reason why the planned remake was canned; you can't have a remake without the original characters, but how could you do this sort of thing and get it into theaters today?

It's all good-natured humor, of course; you never get the feeling that the writers had a vendetta against any of these types of people, but they simply wanted the audience to laugh at themselves and with one another for ninety minutes in a theater. The characters are given time to shine (and not just in the "hey, let's laugh at the gay guy" sense), and in the end, we get behind these characters and root for them along the way. This is the sort of thing that's sorely missing in today's comedy, and it's a damned shame.

Now then, with all that said, you really have to have a solid script and some good actors to make this sort of comedy work. Laughing at stereotypes can be funny when they're done right, but they certainly won't carry an entire feature length film. Thankfully, Revenge of the Nerds offered both of those and a whole lot more: the film is genuinely funny, and the audience can actually associate with the characters found within. Although I can't speak for the sequels just yet as I honestly don't recall which ones I've seen, I can safely say that the original is a classic comedy. 9/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 02/21/2009, 09:57 PM
Great little comedy.

9/10
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