03 March 2008

The Pom Pom Girls

The Pom Pom Girls
United States - 1976
Director – Joseph Ruben
Prism Entertainment, 1983, DVD
School Dazed 8 movie set

Opening with a cross-cut scene of a high-school football team practicing, and the cheer squad practicing on the beach, and canned teen rock muzak, there is little doubt that this movie didn’t budget much for subtlety.

Johnnie (Robert Carradine) is one of the jocks is driving around all crazy with his buddy trying to pick up girls, in particular, Sally one of the cheerleaders who’s dating Duane, a decidedly un-cool dude. During a scuffle, to show Duane how serious he is, Johnny calls him a turkey.
Preparing for the big game, the cheer squad eats up the extras budget with auditions for a bunch of lackadaisical girls while the footballers perpetrate a bunch of typical stunts that are supposed to be serious to them, and amusing to the audience. Classroom scenes are the same, a whoopee cushion on the teachers chair, a food fight. It all has a strange quality though that matches the burned out scratched up print. All the predictable silliness is bound together with a sort of gritty flatfooted sincerity, I almost expect Eric Stoltz as Rocky Dennis to come walking in puking puppydogs. You can really feel these people acting, attacking their jobs with a vigor equaled only by the canned romance rock soundtrack.Despite his cocky crude (still the best in the film) approach to the task, Johnnie manages to win Sally’s heart, and uses his irritating toothy Alfred E. Newman mug to rub it in Duane’s face like a gangly whining munchkin on a sugar buzz. His buddy Jesse shows a couple girls the back of his new van, and slugs the asshole gym coach in the face, and then finally the big game, the climax of the film, and based on the importance the characters place on the moment, likely the most important day of their lives.A bunch of adults playing at being children, and trying very, very hard at it. At once funny, dramatic, dirty and irritating, none of them driven fully home. By itself, not worth much more than any other teen sex comedy I’ve seen, but in this format it’s perfect.

The cover of the DVD set which actually features a still from The Pom Pom Girls, the two female leads are on the right: