1984 - 95m.
As anyone who grew up in the decade knows, the 80’s was when T&A sex comedies were truly in their prime. We had the surprise box-office hit that was Porky’s kicking off the raunchy parade and it was closely followed by such lowbrow, but awesome, fare like Hot Dog... The Movie, Screwballs, Revenge of the Nerds, and Spring Break (to name a few of too many to count). Amongst these is Up the Creek, a sports themed entry that delivers all the fart jokes, slapstick, and exposed breasts you could want while having a theme song by Cheap Trick and sporting a cast filled with comedy credentials – it’s a flick that somehow got lost in the shuffle and was sadly forgotten over time.
Welcome to Lepetomane University, a school that’s definitely seen better days as it’s become a rundown campus filled with all forms of slackers as well as being a joke amongst other, more prestigious, campuses. It’s here that we first meet Bob (Tim Matheson), a smart-assed ringleader of sorts to your typical batch of characters including the overeating fat guy (Stephen Furst), the nerdy one (Sandy Helberg), and the horny party dude (Dan Monahan). Their lives are going nowhere fast and they’re really only still in school because they have nothing better to do but that’s where the Dean comes in offering to give them all degrees if they can win a yearly raft race competition and bring glory back to Lepetomane’s name.
So off our quartet goes, with Bob‘s awesome canine companion “Chuck the Wonder Dog” in tow, to try and win the race even though none of them have any idea how to even raft. Of course, this being the type of flick it is, they soon find themselves getting into all sorts of situations in their quest for a good time and also become the targets of the frat boy types from Ivy University who are in cahoots with the organizer to win by payoff. There’s also more schools competing with your sorority girls and military guys on hand for comedy purposes – like all the Army guy’s inept attempts at sabotaging them.
Up the Creek is the kind of thing you can pop on at any time and smile at. It’s ridiculous, but it knows it is, and gets ample help from its game cast and a script by Jim Kouf (Stakeout, The Hidden, and Class to name a few) that offers up enough laughs to be fun. The best moments here are when Bob is kidnapped and Chuck plays a goofy game of charades with the others as well as the memorable “I think your toilet’s running...” scene in the finale. I also love the line, “What’s the world coming to when you have to bribe your own dog?” simply because Chuck is such a lovable, scene stealer of a pooch.
In the lead Matheson turns in a sarcastic performance and is extremely likeable doing so. His co-stars also have their moments with Furst continuing to get stereotyped after Animal House and Monahan making another T&A flick after being “Pee-Wee” in the Porky’s series. Jennifer Runyon is also pretty engaging, if used sparingly, as Bob‘s love interest and would disappear from acting after 1993’s Carnosaur. That’s voice work pro Frank Welker (he has over 600 credits!) providing Chuck’s sounds.
Under the direction of television veteran Robert Butler, Up the Creek makes for an entertaining time. It’s another in a long-line of sporting based sex comedies but manages to be in the upper tier thanks to its silly tone, winning cast, and the fact it’s probably the only river rafting comedy ever made. It’s sadly underrated and now, thanks to MGM’s on demand “Limited Edition Collection”, it’s finally available on DVD – check it out! (Chris Hartley, 1/24/12)
Directed By: Robert Butler.
Written By: Jim Kouf.
Starring: Tim Matheson, Dan Monahan, Sandy Helberg, Stephen Furst.