Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Beach Girls (1982)

Directed by Bud Townsend 
Starring Debra Blee, Jeana Tomasina, Val Kline 
Rated R

"We deserve a party. We need a party." 

Director Bud Townsend (RIP) does not have a particularly long or wide-ranging resume, but most of the films he made have been memorable: 1969's gruesome Nightmare in Wax, 1972's creaky haunted house flick Terror House (starring Russ Meyer girl Janet Wood), the frequently amazing Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy (1976), breezy high school sex comedy Coach, starring Cathy Lee Crosby (1978), and of course his career high, The Beach Girls. Lost in the shuffle of bikini-romps during its initial release and unfairly obscure even now, The Beach Girls is quintessential 80's T&A cinema, a virtually plotless series of lightweight antics wholly dedicated to laughs and boners, and nothing else. The Beach Girls has no underlying message, no hidden agenda. It assumes you like boobs and watching nerds getting socked in the nuts, and that's exactly what it gives you.

The credit sequence sets us up nicely for a goofy summer romp. Slo-mo volleyball, slo-mo big-boobs frisbee, slo-mo aerobics, slo-mo running across the beach in bikinis (plus one fat girl for comedic effect). A surfing nun. Some late-stage roller disco. One topless stroller who causes a guy to squeeze his hot dog so tight the mustard shoots out. A dog who steals bikini tops. A female bodybuilder. Some chick riding a horse on the beach. All of it to set to a cheeseball Beach Boys rip-off tune by Arsenal, who do not sound like you'd think a band called Arsenal would sound like.

Into this paradise of jiggling flesh drives Sarah (Debra Blee), a petite, top-heavy brunette who wears helicopter pilot glasses and high-waisted jeans. She's come to stay at her uncle Carl's beach house for the summer. Sadly, the only person around to keep her company is the creepy, peeping-Tom groundskeeper. That won't last for long though, because vivacious redhead Ducky (Jeana Tomasina) and party-blonde Ginger (Val Kline) are barreling down the road in a convertible, picking up dreamy hitchhikers, and heading her way for two weeks at paradise beach.

Meanwhile, out of nowhere, we visit what appears to be an all-gay naval ship that's in the area to nab some weed dealers. We'll be seeing more of that motley crew later. In the meantime, the girls show up at Sarah's. It is at this point where he find out that both Ginger and Ducky are wearing shorts that are at least two times too small.

They've invited Scott-the-hitchhiker to stay with then for the night. They figure Sarah will say it's ok. She meets Scott. Scott Daniels.  It's ok. The chemistry between these two! This summer is already lookin' steamy!

Ginger and Ducky immediately head out to the beach for some nude sunbathing. Naturally, this attracts their voyeuristic neighbor Harold, who watches them through a telescope.

Also, Scott and Sarah take a romantic stroll and get to know each other better. And a nerd guy, wearing black socks on the beach, knocks himself out with a can of beer and then gets chased around by the fat girl from the credits. She's got Bo Derek braids. Classy!

Ginger and Ducky decide to throw a party. They do not ask Sarah first. Some friends. The problem is, they want lots of boys at the party, but they don't know any. So Ginger picks up the yellow pages and starts calling various delivery services. The pizza guy shows up first and offers Ducky the salami in his pants.

He is quickly followed by other service people, as well as everybody who hanging out on the beach. Sarah's worried things are going to get out of hand. Ginger assures he there's nothing to worry about. I would not trust Ginger, Sarah.

So, the party's on. Ginger does some pretty amazing herky-jerky dancing. Also, Ginger lied, because the party does turn into an orgy. And they're beginning to run out of booze. So Ginger calls the liquor store to order some more. Six cases of beer, and six cases of “peach tipple”. And she charges it to Uncle Carl's account!

Also, at one point, the nerd guy yells, “Food fight!” He's not lying. There's a hamburger and a bottle of ketchup and a bottle of mustard fighting on the beach.

Harold's wife finds out what Harold's been looking at all this time, and calls the cops. Luckily, the cop who shows up is a college dude, so Ginger convinces him to stay. And the party rages on!

By the way, eagle-eyed sleaze-beasts might recognize some of the party-goers: the chick from Joysticks  is guzzling champagne, and the chick from Boardinghouse is dancing wildly in a blue leotard!

And then everybody at the party – except for Sarah and the Doreen, diaper delivery service girl – go skinnydipping at the beach. Sarah and Doreen have a heart to heart, and Doreen tells our uptight protagonist to loosen up. That seems right. Loosen the fuck up, lady.

Also, you remember Captain Jack, the dope smuggler? He's cruising past the party when he gets wind that the navy is bearing down on him. So he orders his crew to get rid of the cargo. They toss garbage bags of marijuana off the boat, and naturally it starts drifting towards Sarah and the gang.

It is at this point when Uncle Carl, under the orders of his pushy fiance Julie, decides to drop in on his niece and see how things are going. He walks in and finds his house has been taken over by topless girls and jugglers in Space Invaders t-shirts.

Uncle Carl is very disappointed in Sarah. He wants everybody out in the morning, including Ginger and Ducky! Summer is cancelled!

Ginger and Ducky overhear their conversation. They don't want to be sent home! And so, they formulate the kind of plan you'd expect from girls named Ginger and Ducky. They'll seduce Carl! Ginger corners Uncle Carl in his sauna, where he's trying to relax. She works her blonde stoner chick charms on him.

Carl promptly passes out from the heat and the weed. Goodnight, uncle Carl.

The next morning, Sarah wakes up and surveys the wreckage. Everyone is still in the house, sleeping in piles on the floor. Ginger chases everybody out so they can clean up. And then she leaves Sarah to do it herself. Why is Sarah friends with these people?

Uncle Carl takes Ducky sailing. She takes off her top and then falls out of the boat. He has to jump out of the boat and save her. Then he has to give her mouth-to-mouth. She digs it. He digs it too, until his nosy neighbors show up. Anyway, all these boobs and smooches convince Uncle Carl to let Ginger and Ducky stay. Good job, girls. Summer is saved!

Wilhemina-the-nosy-neighbor calls Julie and tells her about all the sexy hijinks going on. Julie jumps into her limo and heads over to straighten shit out. Meanwhile, Ginger and Ducky find all of Captain Jack's weed. And then they throw another party. Everybody who shows up gets a baggie full of weed. Should be a good night. Even Sarah's excited. She teases her hair up and wears a bikini top (finally!).  She swills some booze and starts making out with random dudes. Scott doesn't like it, but fuck him, he doesn't own Sarah, she can do what she wants. Also, there's mud wrestling.

And then Julie stomps in on Carl and the girls in the sauna and fucks everything up.

She breaks off the engagement. Carl's not all that upset, really. Also, Julie gets high with the rookie cop and forgets why she was pissed in the first place. Also, the navy shows up and attacks the party. They march everybody out to the beach and execute them.

No, they don't do that. They do confiscate all the weed, though. Here's the problem, though. They decide to burn it all, right there on the beach. And anyone whose ever seen a Cheech and Chong movie knows how that goes.

Also, out of nowhere, Sarah pops off her top! And I will tell you this, it was worth the wait.

And so, everybody's stoned and getting laid and happy, even the gay navy guys and the nosy neighbors.
The end.

Not everything lands the way it should in The Beach Girls. For protagonists, Ginger and Ducky seems like awful people, and  you could excise the groundskeeper's tiresome pratfalling antics entirely, and it would not harm the film. But these are very minor complaints. For the most part, The Beach Girls pushes every 80's nostalgia button: bad music, big hair, lots of jiggling boobs, and the odd but pervasive notion that throwing an awesome party is more important than anything else you could ever do. Best of all, it introduces us to an uptight chick with a huge rack, lulls us into thinking we'll never see what's going on under those drab clothes, and then pops 'em out at the last possible moment. What a gift! The Beach Girls, like many films of the era, present us with a euphoric vision of the ideal summer, one that really only exists in movies like this. Still, it
gives you something to strive for. There's an Uncle Carl in all of us, I'm sure of it. Or at least Harold, the horny neighbor with the telescope.

- Ken McIntyre

PS Hear the gang talk about The Beach Girls on Episode 148 of the Movies About Girls Podcast!


  1. The chick guzzling champagne in the picture is Corinne Bohrer, the naked ice chick from Dead Solid Perfect and she wasn't in House On Sorority Row.

    I can't believe you missed Catherine Mary Stewart the older sister from Night Of The Comet!

  2. Erm...I meant Joysticks!
    Also, I def didn't see CMS. Nice work!


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