Private Resort (1986) – Dudes in paradise

The temperature has only been getting hotter and hotter this summer so what better way to kick back and cool off than with another, cheesy, 80s teen comedy? Private Resort is a crisp, cool comedy, light on substance but full on fruity flavour, best served chilled. The movie, somewhat unfortunately, is the fourth and final directed by George Bowers, an editor who worked on some of the finest sexploitation movies of the late 70s and early 80s. I guess he found slaving over shots of topless girls more rewarding than directing them. But hey, he went on to edit Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalow, so who’s laughing now?

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This silly piece of summer escapism begins with its protagonists reaching one of the classic sex comedy El Dorados – a sunny Florida hotel filled with gorgeous girls and rich, old ladies. It’s the kind of place where everyone comes to drink, hang out by the water, and bang. Something you’ll notice, if you can see past the rather enthusiastic extras prancing around, is that one half of our dude duo looks a lot like a baby Johnny Depp.  That’s because it is, in his first leading role no less, following up on his memorable screen debut with that bed-toilet-thing scene in Nightmare On Elm Street. Making up the other half is the infectiously smiling debutant, Rob Morrow, who went on to Northern Exposure and other television work.

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The pair, Jack and Ben respectively, have somehow scored a weekend at this apparently exclusive hotel and are determined to sample the sumptuous buffet of babes on offer. That means they’ve got to break out the age old schemes – whether it be impersonating rich doctors, running defence on angry boyfriends, or dressing up as women. Somehow the boys manage to cross a narcissistic conman along the way – Pretty Woman‘s Hector Elizondo – and as always, upset the uptight hotel security chief. While the narrative is not exactly a square meal, between avoiding the bad guys and chasing chicks, our would-be teen heartthrobs have their work cut out for them. Just sit back and enjoy the mindless fun.

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The majority of people nowadays will probably only watch this for the young Johnny Depp, however Rob Morrow seems a little more capable and a lot more likeable. The latter could be the script’s fault, of course. It’s not surprising the screenplay is a real mixed bag – amassing the writing talents of a guy with no prior credits, and nothing really since; a teenager who went on to write for Jay Leno; and an actual television comedy writer in Gordon Mitchell. It comes out a little like a television sketch show, basted in unoriginal narrative and garnished with hot babes. It might not be healthy, but it has some nice flavours. Spicing up the mix is Adam Greenberg, a Polish born cinematographer with some killer credits – Terminator 1 & 2, Ghost, Rush Hour, not to mention a regular collaborator of Boaz Davidson’s including on The Last American Virgin (review here). There are some notable smaller credits too, including Emily Longstreth, one of the bitches from Pretty in Pink as Ben’s love interest, former American Girls member Hilary Sheppard, as a nutty cousin who serves as probably the films weirdest joke, and the Diceman who pretty much plays himself.

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For a genuine 80s teen sex comedy, Private Resort is fairly harmless and sedate, I mean there’s no sex and there’s barely (hah) any nudity, but there is plenty of poolside hijinks. It is a simple, silly journey, worth a laugh if only for the skinny, baby-faced Depp trying to play cool. The movie must have had some kind of budget on it too, judging by the decent production quality, filmed on location at The Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. Consequently it looks a lot nicer than most of the stuff I cover on here, although that isn’t saying much. Also, apologies for all the food comparisons, I guess I must have been hungry writing this, all I know is I want to go to 80s Florida.

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