The poster for this is one of the iconic images of the teen sex comedy craze of the 80's and I think this may have been the first flick that I experienced from this much-loved genre. I still enjoy these flicks once in a while for their unashamed delivery of a good time as a fantasy social life that many 80's teenagers aspired to have especially when they hit college. Endless partying, boobs, music, and fun seemed pretty appealing and the reality that we are only young once is a message that is given over and over again. It is funny because the heroes in these flicks are often frat boys that I would never hang out with but the innocence of their relentless pursuit of a good time was somewhat infectious when I was an early teen. Although I am older now, these still provide a great throwback to my youth and the less serious times of the 80's. The cover speaks for itself about how much of a different time we live in as I cannot imagine a parody of the flag raising at Iwo Jima on the hip of a bikini-clad woman being looked at as funny in this day and age.
David Knell stars as Nelson, the son of a politician who decides to take off with his friend Adam (Perry Lang) and party it up for spring break in Fort Lauderdale. Soon after arriving, they meet up with a couple of slightly older dudes (Paul Land and Steve Bassett) and the four of them hang out and do what movies have told me that people do over spring break: drink, yell, and screw. Meanwhile, Nelson's overbearing father is concerned about his reputation so he follows Nelson to Florida out of fear that Nelson's actions are going to cause him embarrassment. Nelson gets wind of this and tries his best to let loose, hook up with a cute girl named Susie (Jayne Modean), and enjoy his one last shot of freedom before his life gets more serious. There is also a fairly standard subplot of the main place of partying being threatened to be shut down by sleazy businesspeople so the kids must come together to save their hangout.
This is still one of the classics of the genre and the fact that it is so dated adds to the appeal. Co-star Perry Lang stands out as one of the more memorable carousers of the 80's and Land and Bassett play their parts well as the party vets with Bassett in particular somehow being able to keep his cool even when wearing one of those ridiculous half-shirts. In fact, I believe he is wearing said shirt when he attracts the interest of the singer of a female band called Hot Date. Director Sean S. Cunningham is a long way from Friday the 13th but manages to keep things entertaining and throws in as many examples of spring break culture as possible with everything from beer chugging to bikinis galore to a bellyflop contest. This is also the movie that introduced me to the 80's phenomenon that was the wet t-shirt contest. We also get a guy peeing on an alligator and a finale that includes whipping cream, beer, and a swimming pool.
It is interesting that nobody from this flick really went on to much more. Knell and Lang have both been working fairly steadily but this was the biggest part for both of them over their acting careers (Lang had some success as a TV director as well). Paul Land was best known for his role in The Idolmaker a few years before and passed away in 2007. Steve Bassett and Jayne Modean both never really went on to anything which amazes me as they both had great screen presence. Penthouse Pet Corinne Alphen plays the spandex-rocking singer of Hot Date and later married and divorced Ken Wahl ("Wiseguy"). She also co-starred in Cirio H. Santiago's Equilizer 2000. Look for Nikki Fritz as the girl that Bassett brings back to the hotel and Jeff Garlin ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") as the belly flop contestant who has words Gut Guy written on him. Tammy Lynn Leppert, the attractive female boxer in one of the bar scenes, had a small but memorable part in Scarface as well and then mysteriously disappeared shortly after Spring Break was released and was the subject of an "Unsolved Mysteries" episode. As of this writing, she has not been found. The music was done by Harry Manfredini who has collaborated many times with Cunningham and is responsible for the famous Friday the 13th music. (Josh Pasnak, 5/25/19)
Directed By: Sean S. Cunningham.
Written By: David Smilow.
Starring: David Knell, Perry Lang, Paul Land, Steve Bassett.