Peter’s Retro Movie Review: Private School (1983)

November 5, 2012

Private School (1983) movie posterby Peter Nielsen

“You won’t believe what goes on and what comes off in… Private School”

For some reason I thought I’d seen this before, but as it turned out I had not! We used to watch a ton of these teen comedies way back in the days and considering that most of them had very similar “plots”, it’s not surprising that you could get them confused with one another.

In this one we have two schools, one for girls and one for boys, and they are to be kept separate at all costs. Or rather the girls are to be kept separate from the filthy-minded boys who are only after one thing, but actually the girls aren’t so pure either. At the start of the movie, the three friends, Bubba, Jim and Roy sneak into the girls dorm armed with a camera.

Well, not really into the dorm, that comes later, but they stand on each other’s shoulders to get up high enough to peek in through the window. We’re not even 5 minutes in and we already have boobs and from this point on, they are practically omnipresent. The boobs, I mean!

The main couple in Private School, is Christine and Jim and are played by Matthew Modine (Birdy, Full Metal Jacket) and a gorgeous-looking Phoebe Cates (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Gremlins I & II).

They have been together for some time now but still haven’t done the deed yet, so Christine books a room at a hotel for them to go away and have a romantic weekend. But lots of shenanigans happen before we get to that!

Not the most attractive trio in the dorm, huh?

Not the most attractive trio in the dorm, huh?

Christine’s rival is Jordan, played by Betsy Russell (Avenging Angel and 4 Saw movies), who wants Jim for herself. Actually she doesn’t really want him, she just wants to break them up because that’s the kind of person she is. A rich, spoilt brat! And this being the movie that it is, her weapons are sex and her body. One of the funniest scenes, in my opinion, is when Jordan tries to seduce Jim when he’s in her room dressed as a girl.

Wait! What? Dressed as a girl?

Yes, of course! How else would he and his friends be able to sneak into the girl’s dorm and ogle them? They’re not very convincing as girls though, and as Jim is looking for Christine, he’s recognized by Jordan who pushes him into her room. To make him feel uncomfortable and hot she slowly raises the temperature in the room, while at the same time getting undressed.

Jim desperately tries to hide his unease whilst getting more and more aroused. I suppose he could just get up and leave, but he is after all, only a boy and Jordan is for all intents and purposes actually performing a striptease for him. Very funny! Matthew Modine is hilarious here!

Go on... feel my calf!

Go on… feel my calf!

At the same time his two friends, Bubba and Roy, are running around the place looking for a glimpse of naked female skin. Roy can’t seem to catch a break while Bubba hits the jackpot in the shower-room. Roy is played by Jonathan Prince, whom I mainly know from the TV-show Mr. Merlin from ’81-’82, and Bubba by Michael Zorek from The Woman In Red and Hot Moves for instance.

Voyeurism seems to be the running theme in Private School because most of the time is spent looking for or looking at boobs. It’s all very juvenile, but as I stated before, that was a common thread in these types of teen comedies from the early 80’s. The story is miniscule or, to be quite frank, non-existent… Just like the girls’ clothing!

If you’re looking for intricate plot points or any deeper meaning, oh boy are you in the wrong theater, but if you put your brain in neutral and expect nothing more than mindless fluff… well, then you might be in the right place after all. I found that I actually liked it and it made me laugh out loud a couple of times, so I suppose that makes it ok in my book, but don’t expect too much. It’s not one of the best ever made!

The cast of Private School is kind of cool. Apart from the ones I’ve already mentioned there’s Kathleen Wilhoite (Witchboard, The Edge) as Betsy, Christine’s best friend and Bubba’s “girlfriend” and Fran Ryan as the principle Miss Dutchbok. I’m sure you’ll recognize her because she’s been in a ton of TV-shows over the years.

Christine and Jim sharing a moment at the beach.

Christine and Jim sharing a moment at the beach.

In the latter part of the movie there’s a “parent-day” at the school and when Jordan’s dad arrives in his limousine, you’ll most definitely recognize his chauffeur… It’s Ray Walston from the show My Favorite Martian among many, many things.

Last but not least, I’ll just mention the actress in the role of the sex education teacher, Ms. Copuletta. It’s not hard to understand why they cast Sylvia Kristel in that part, huh? She is after all mostly remembered from the Emmanuelle movies, I suppose. Unfortunately, Ms. Kristel sadly passed away not so long ago.

Private School has got a pretty cool soundtrack too! There are songs by Rick Springfield, Vanity 6, Bow-Wow-Wow, Trio and also Stray Cats. Sam the Sham & the Pharaos features with one of their classics and even Phoebe Cates contributes with two songs.

Oh, and by the way? I DID mention that she’s gorgeous, right?

And on that musical note, I’m going to leave you for this week.

Until next time, why not leave a comment and share your thoughts about Private School.

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