Party Animal (1984) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Party Animal was a low budget attempt to cash in on the early 80s craze for raunchy youthploitation films, specifically raunchy Canadian youthploitation films. Porky's, also Canadian, was made in 1982; Porky's II came out in 1983; Party Animal is dated 1984.

Although the story takes place somewhere in the northern United States, the protagonist, Pondo Sinatra, is a 26 year old college freshman from Alabama. He is such a complete hayseed that he was dropped off for school in his overalls by a turnip truck. You may be wondering how such a rube got into college in the first place, or why he thought he would enjoy life in the Ivy League. I can't answer the first question, but the answer to the second is evident. He loves him some northern poontang. He just goes crazy over those beautiful rich girls - "rich" being defined in Pondo's lexicon as meaning "with all their teeth." Pondo just dreams of nookie night and day.

As a mid-twentyish, balding college freshman with all the manners of a barnyard animal, yet without the accompanying intelligence, Pondo's chances of scoring with Ivy League women are about the same as my chances of getting the lead in a Gene Kelly biopic. His handsome BMOC roommate (named Studly) takes Pondo under his wing, but our hero is such a complete yokel that even Studly's expert ministrations can provide him no relief from virginity. He cries out in desperation that he would sell his soul to Satan for the ability to get laid.

As it turns out, Satan hangs around Pondo's campus, and is more than happy to oblige. The Dark One, in the disguise of a seriously hot babe, prompts Pondo to make an inadvertent but serendipitous flub in Chemistry class, the by-product of which is a secret love potion. Pondo uses it, and goes from never getting laid to getting laid instantly with every women he meets. (Oh, that Satan - evil, but fun!)

Pondo then realizes that always getting laid is even worse then never getting laid. As is Satan's wont, he has provided one of those twisted, overly literal, Monkey's-paw, wish-fulfillment things that he always provides instead of just providing simple customer satisfaction. Lucifer could learn a lot from Nissan. I'll bet if he would just get a reputation for holding up his end of the deal without any tricky stuff, he could double Hell's market share of souls.

How does it all end? Well, you'll just have to watch it if you must find out. I'll tell you that the ending is a genre-buster in that Pondo does NOT come to the usual happy Hollywood ending, but then again you won't really care because Pondo is a complete douchebag.

Party Animal isn't a good movie, but it could have been. The two male stars are reasonably competent. The girls are pretty, have nice bodies, and are not ashamed to show them in good light. The photography is pretty decent. The basic concept is good, several ideas are very funny, and the characters treat surreal situations as if they were perfectly normal, so the film has a sense of humor similar to Better Off Dead. The musical score features some of the best alternative album-oriented rock of the 80s, from The Fleshtones, The Buzzcocks, R.E.M. and The Untouchables.

So why didn't it work?

My theory centers around three areas: editing, identification, and anonymity.

First of all, the editing in this film is just plain confusing. About ten times during the film, I had a thought that went something like this, "WTF is this? Oh, I see, the previous scene is finished. I wasn't expecting that. Wasn't it in the middle of something? Oh, maybe not. Now what's going on here? Who the hell are these characters?"

Second, I didn't like Pondo, so I didn't care whether he ever got laid or not. A minor rewrite could have fixed this problem by making him less of an obnoxious redneck bumpkin and more of a sweet naif. By the way, this was the one and only film appearance from the guy who played Pondo, who looks like Greg Kinnear in a Steven Wright wig. He is now Dr. Matthew Causey, an assistant professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, and a guest lecturer in drama at Trinity College in Dublin. Here is a scholarly essay he wrote on Mapping the Dematerialized: Writing Postmodern Performance Theory.

Third, I just didn't know who anyone was. Studly and Pondo are defined, but all the girls are anonymous and interchangeable. The film could have worked if it had taken the time to establish distinct personalities for three to six girls, showed them rejecting Pondo, then showed them later as they went nuts over Pondo. As it plays out now, Pondo gets rejected by some anonymous chicks, then scores with some anonymous chicks, some of whom look like the same chicks, others ... eh, not so much.

In my opinion, those three reasons sum up why Porky's is a treasured raunchy classic and Party Animal is nothing more than a time capsule which was buried in the early 80s.



  • No meaningful features
  • It is a two-sided DVD with a widescreen version on one side (16x9 anamorphically enhanced), and a full screen version on the other.



Many women got topless. Maybe six. (I can't tell them apart.) They are pretty, and showed the goodies in good light, but I have no idea who they are.

The Critics Vote ...

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C-, a film that had some good ideas cobbled together by sloppy execution.

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