HARD BREAKERS (2011)
Starring Cameron Richardson, Sophie Monk, Tia Carrere, Tom Arnold, Chris Kattan, Mircea Monroe, Lochlyn Munro, Adam Gregory, Sticky Fingaz, James Kyson-Lee, Jeff Chase, Bobby Lee, Christopher Backus, Scott Elrod, Jennifer C. Sparks, Tia Barr, Alexis Arquette and Stephen Tobolowsky.
Screenplay by Leah Sturgis & Elaine Fogg.
Directed by Leah Sturgis.
Distributed by Freestyle Releasing. 98 minutes. Rated R.
Back in the 1980s, during the original heyday of the teen sex comedy, the genre movies essentially came on three levels.
There was the rarified top rank, movies that may have been a bit exploitative, but they also were fine examples of filmmaking – for example Risky Business, Sixteen Candles, Fast Times at Ridgemont High or The Sure Thing.
Then there was the second level – mostly cheesy and poorly made, but with some pretenses of mass appeal, things like Porky’s, My Tutor, Private School and Class.
The third level was pretty much impossible to critique because they had no pretentions to being anything other that being junk food. They married cheesy storylines and gratuitous nudity with supporting roles played by slumming b-celebs. This grouping included the likes of Hardbodies, Hot Moves, Spring Break, Screwballs, H.O.T.S. and hundreds of other low-level titles which populated the last slot in drive-in triple features and after-midnight screenings in the early years of HBO.
If Hard Breakers had been made back then, it would have definitely been in the third camp.
It does have one semi-intriguing and unique aspect – it is trying to prove that women can be as stupid and sex-crazed as the guys.
Of course, the film takes it to its most elemental level – two gorgeous beach bunnies, Lindsay (Cameron Richardson from Alvin and the Chipmunks) and Alexis (Sophie Monk of Click) tire of meeting guys through bars and parties and stuff. They decide that they just want to find guys to sleep with without all the drama, and the best way of doing that is to borrow the caveman method of literally hitting the guys on the head and dragging them home.
This idea – beyond being sorta ridiculous – has the built-in problem that either one of these women could get laid any night they wanted by just about any man they wanted, and do it without committing felony assault.
The lead actresses are extremely likable in their roles, but they are somewhat let down by the aggressive stupidity of the script. Even if that goofiness was the intended effect for the film – and I do believe it was – it’s a hard tone to pull off and Hard Breakers skids off the road too often.
Unfortunately, the people around them are not so likable. The guys that they bonk and then boink tend to be smug assholes and their friends and co-workers and exes are either crazy or jerks.
We also have a few slumming b-celebs here, as required by the style of film. Tom Arnold (who actually can be a very good actor) phones in his performance as Lindsay’s horny dad who has started dating a girl his daughter’s age. Former Saturday Night Live comic Chris Kattan munches the scenery as a slimy filmmaker. Also, Tia Carrere (best known as Wayne’s hot Asian rock star girlfriend in the Wayne’s World movies) gives her all in a kind of silly role of a commando of the heart who teaches the girls in the ways of (literally) bagging guys. At least she looks fetching in a pink camo outfit.
The filmmakers did pull their punches on the gratuitous nudity part – there is just one pair of breasts on display in the whole movie, and that was in a scene which was shoehorned into the plot, featuring a character that was a glorified extra.
It’s all incredibly silly and very, very stupid, and yet thanks to the fine, game work of the lead actresses and the ironically somewhat sweet nature of the script, it is kind of hard to dislike Hard Breakers. It is like the movies which inspired it, completely impossible to critique because it has no pretentions to art at all. If you are looking for fine art, look somewhere else. However, with Hard Breakers’ much more modest aim, you can do worse if looking for some shut-off-your-mind light entertainment.
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 20, 2011.