Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Party Animal (1984)

Directed by David Beaird
Starring Matthew Causey, Tim Carhart
Rated R
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Even amongst the lowly flotsam of z-grade T&A flicks, The Party Animal is a genre nadir, a witless non-starter that almost defies you to keep watching. Other films may torment you with terrible acting, absurd plot devices, paper-thin production values or lop-sided boobs, but The Party Animal commits sleaze cinema's greatest sin: it is terminally, mercilessly lame.

The Party Animal in question is one Pando Sinatra (Matthew Causey), who arrives at college literally on the back of a turnip truck. The narrator says he's 26, but his hairline suggests another 10 years, at least. The film is presented as a documentary of Pando's college quest which was, as it was with all of us, to get laid. Here's the thing: besides the receding hairline and a wardrobe ripped from Mork from Ork's closet, there really is no reason why Pando wouldn't find some willing coed to relieve him of his virginity. He's not a bad looking guy, sort of a dopey Sam Rockwell type. So from the beginning, our premise is deeply flawed. But let's roll with it, since we're already here.

Pando's one and only friend is a droll cocksman named (ahem) Studly, essayed by constantly-working character actor Tim Carhart. You'd think, given his name, Studly would have better things to do than mentor a social leper like Pando, but since nobody in this un-named school appears to actually attend classes, he has to fill his time between blowjobs with something. And so he offers advice, Pando fucks it all up, and they try again. Eventually, Pando sells his soul to the devil for pussy, but he ends up blowing that deal somehow, as well. And so we must slog through absurd set-pieces, including a Pando-as-pimp bit, where he's dressed up in a purple satin mac-daddy suit and gets walloped (off screen) by a bunch of angry black dudes in dashikis, a scuzzball house party, where Pando ingests a Johnny Thunders-esque amount of drugs to prove his mettle, a confusing visit to a sex shop, where he buys a dildo the size of a rocket, and a slumber party, where our feckless zero gussies up in a housedress and a hairnet and cheats at strip poker. At least that scene provides us with a much-needed dose of nudity. Female nudity, that is.

In what appears to have been an alarming trend in Canadian teensploitation films of the 80's, there's an extended bit of homoeroticism to wade through. In this case, Pando drops by an all-male revue to watch a bunch of oiled-up muscle-boys gyrate and thrust to a brassy lite-funk groove. They never even mention why. He just does. And we have to watch for five minutes straight. Imagine paying for a ticket and being subjected to glistening man-groin projected ten feet high?

Anyway, if you think a guy dressed up like the Red Baron, chasing a woman around the room with a paper-mache rocket between his legs is funny, than you'll want to stick around, because it just gets zanier. Pando gets tossed out of school, but then he invents a sex potion, goes to see ska-punk funsters The Untouchables, and then bangs a dozen sorority girls. Satan condemns him to have sex with fat girls sometime after that. BBW fans will interpret this twist ending differently than the rest of us, although we will all breathe a sigh of relief that it's over.

The Party Animal sputters out after a not-so-brief 78 minutes. It is fondly remembered by almost no one. David Beaird redeemed himself two years later, when he wrote and directed My Chauffeur, one of the warmest and most well-loved films of the teen-sex genre. Matthew Causey, sensibly, got back on his turnip truck and drove the fuck home.

Scene: Pando Vs. Drugs.

Availability: The Party Animal is available on DVD from MGM. Doesn't mean you have to watch it.
Buy The Party Animal on Amazon.

PS: Who's this chick? I desperately wanted to marry her in 1985.

-Ken McIntyre


  1. Pretty cool that the song playing during the opening credits is "Why Can't I Touch It" by the Buzzcocks! Too bad the movie sucked.

    The only Canadian teen movie I remember seeing back then was Crunch - a mediocre football comedy starring Robert Forster, John Vernon, and Norman Fell! That's far too awesome a cast for such a lame movie.

  2. Crunch sounds like The Kinky Coaches and the Pom-Pom Pussycats, a decidedly PG comedy retitled (I imagine) to lure in unsuspecting horndogs.

  3. I remember renting this movie one summer about 20 years ago while summering on my dead college campus in the middle of nowhere between semesters. Hey, it was better than going home.

    I remember it being sorta funny. It's quasi-documentary style was, actually, moderately original at that point, and there were a few good lines and funny scenes. Yeah, stupid as all get out, but if I wanted Kubrick I would have rented Kubrick.

    Of course, at that point in my life I could have been in that movie, so it's possible my recollection is clouded.

  4. We were all in that movie, if only just a little.


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