"Face it honey, you can't be a tomboy all your life."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 12/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While the average movie watcher may not recognize the name Betsy Russell (Private School, Cheerleader Camp), those of us males who grew up in the 1980s, weaned on hours of dedicated cable viewing, know her as something akin to a goddess in the world of dumb, teen comedies for basically two reasons...she was one fine babe, and she didn't seem to mind showing some skinage, as evident in the film Tomboy (1985), among others. Originally released by Crown International Pictures, the film was directed by Herb Freed (Graduation Day, Survival Game) and stars, as I mentioned, Ms. Russell. Also appearing is Gerard Christopher ("Superboy"), Kristi Somers (Hardbodies), Richard Erdman (The Blue Gardenia), and the late Eric Douglas (The Flamingo Kid), youngest son of actor Kirk Douglas.
Russell plays Tomasina `Tommy' Boyd, a tomboy through and through who spends her days working on cars, shooting hoops with the boys, and riding her motorcycle. After a fairly schmaltzy and pointless opening sequence showing Tommy as a girl, playing baseball with the boys, scoring a run, and ultimately hugging her father (who was apparently an astronaut in the air force), all done in slow motion montage form, we're now in the present as Tommy rises from bed and proceeds to shower...some skin but no goodies...yet...man, you wouldn't think you could be jealous of a sponge...anyway, Tommy works as a mechanic at Chester's Garage, a dumpy filling station where she's often visited by her girly girl friend Seville (Somers), an aspiring Broadway dancer who seems to have little problem sleazing her way up the ladder of success, as evident later on in the film. After witnessing a dance audition by Seville and her troupe, one performed for some potential financial backers (surprisingly enough they declined on investing in Seville and her rotten routine), we're back in the garage as big time stock car driver/professional pretty boy Randy Starr (Christopher), who Tommy's got a serious crush on...seems Randy has been hired by a local rich and infinitely sleazy dink named Ernie Leeds, Jr. to race for him, and Randy offers Tommy an invitation to come to Leeds' house to check out his boss stock car. After this we see Seville auditioning for a donut commercial, whoring it up good, followed by Tommy and Seville heading to Leeds' house where Tommy and Randy race around on motocross bikes (at one point Tommy crashes in a swampy morass, resulting in her revealing her Tommy `guns, if only to get out of her wet clothes...hootchie mama!). Following this there's a party sequence at Leeds' house (with parachute pants as far as the eye can see), Tommy and Randy hook up, as evident with an overly long montage sequence featuring the pair engaging in all sorts of outdoor activities, but eventually they have a falling out as Tommy shows Randy up on the race track while an important sponsor is in attendance, the result being the pair deciding to race each other to settle once and for all who the best driver is...
While the Tomboy is pure 1980s teenage hokum through and through, it fairs better than its counterparts based solely on the presence of Betsy Russell and her generous `assets', along with her willingness to put them on display. The movie itself actually played like one, long series of Mentos commercials. One example of this is early on as Tommy is riding her motorcycle to work and she stops off to engage in a game of basketball with some local chumps. Through a bit of creative editing Russell makes all of her shots, but then here's the kicker...as she's leaving, she climbs aboard her motorcycle and one of the dudes tosses her the ball. She catches it with one hand, puts it up, and swoosh! It goes in...as she drives off the yahoos begin high fivin' each other, apparently overjoyed in the fact they've just been emasculated by losing to a girl in their own sport. I did learn a lot of things from this film, including the following...
1. I'd give my left gonasticle to be Betsy Russell's loofa. 2. Pretentious, forgettable pop songs from the 1980s, often featured in films like this, generally included meaningless lyrics like `You got the magic, I got the fire'. 3. Nothing gets women hotter than chasing them around town in your muscle car, throwing a constant barrage of catcalls in their direction. 4. When a sign warns of `severe tire damage', they ain't kidding. 5. Untalented bimbos could manage to find success given their willingness to whore it up. 6. Someone other than Jimmy `J.J.' Walker actually used the phrase `Dy-no-mite!' in the 1980s. 7. When doing a television commercial for donuts the performers actually get paid in donuts. 8. Goofy, slow motion montages are a great way to pad out a film. 9. When waiting for a woman to meet you for a date it's probably not a good idea to let her walk in on you while you're watching porn as she'll think you're some kind of skeevy perv. 10. Apparently, in the world of stock car racing, slapping a jet engine onto your vehicle isn't considered an illegal modification.
The performances were passable for a movie like this (although the idea of Betsy Russell as a tomboy seemed a bit farfetched), but the writing is pretty lousy (this one's about as predictable as they come). I seriously doubt anyone was sitting on the edge of their seat at the end of this one, wondering if plucky Tommy would beat arrogant Randy in the race, thus validating Tommy's belief a woman can do anything as well as a man. I do love these kinds of films, though, as they take on the superficial mask of female empowerment while passing along copious amounts of nekkid female flesh (Russell's character was the only female that came off remotely decent here). I did gag a little on some of the schmaltz-laden montages but overall, I'd say this was an entertaining, three star (out of five) feature, and an extra star thrown in for Ms. Russell.
The picture quality on this BCI DVD release, presented in widescreen (1.85:1), looks pretty decent, and the Dolby Digital stereo audio comes through well enough. There aren't any extras, except for a few trailers for some other BCI DVD releases in their Crown International Classics (I wouldn't necessarily refer to some many of them as `classics') series including Hunk (1987), The Beach Girls (1982), Jocks (1987), and My Chauffer (1986).
WIDESCREEN ISN'T ALWAYS BETTER
A. Falcon | Brooklyn, NY | 04/11/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"With this BCI Eclipse widescreen DVD release, you don't get to see Kristi Somers fully nude in the shower room as she appears in the full-frame (VHS) version: in the 1.85:1 format her lower half is cropped from the bottom of the screen, so she appears only topless (from the waist up). For this reason, the DVD should have been presented in full frame. "
Another cheesy Cult movie, but awesome...
ScorpioTiger | East Earl, PA USA | 02/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is another cheese cult movie from when I was growing up. The picture quality is DVD sharp. If you loved this movie when you were growing up, get it! It's just as cheesy as you remember it, if not more."
Carolyn P. Hart | Baltimore, Md United States | 11/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"80's romp about a female mechanic Tommy (the tomboy) and her love of cars and racing."
Just how I remembered it
Marilyn Gillis | Kelowna, BC Canada | 08/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The movie is just how I remembered it way back, but the quality of the movie is a lot better. It is worth watching more then once."