I think a few filmmakers in the 1980s realised that, as long as they had some nudity every ten minutes or so, they could do whatever the hell they liked, and this has led to some interesting movies as part of our “Endless Bummer” feature. I don’t want to say “good”, because that could be seen as praising the rampant sexism, homophobia, racism and just plain sociopathy on display, but a few of these movies have been almost a pleasant surprise.
Such is the case with “Private Resort”, on the surface a boob-and-bad-joke delivery system, but really structured like a classic English farce, with all the hijinks that entails. And it’s pretty relentless, too – some of the setpieces go on for ages, where someone will enter a room, then our heroes try to sneak his drunk girlfriend out the other door, then he comes back out of the room so they have to drop her behind a sofa, pretend to hiccup when she does, then avoid the psychotic hotel security manager…it can leave you feeling pretty breathless at times.
Of course, this film is much better remembered (when it’s remembered at all) for its star Johnny Depp (and to a lesser extent, the top-billed Rob Morrow). Depp had made his debut in “A Nightmare On Elm Street” the year before, and this wouldn’t have clued anyone in to the A-lister he was to become, springboarding from 1987’s “21 Jump Street”. Before then, he bummed around in short films, TV movies and this, and on its own it’s sort of fun seeing Depp as a mega-horndog in his early 20s.
So yes, it’s a farce, with a heavy slapstick element. Two guys (Depp and Morrow) go to a beach resort for a long weekend, and in doing so get themselves involved with a bunch of oddball characters. There’s Hector Elizondo as jewel thief “The Maestro” and his moll; the ludicrously angry head of hotel security and the German hotel barber; older horndog Andrew “Dice” Clay, just going by Andrew Clay at the time; the waitress who Morrow falls in love with and her evil supervisor; and the Grandma with the very expensive diamond necklace, who for some reason has brought her granddaughters along on a beach resort weekend – one of whom is the female equivalent of Depp, the other a religious nut (following the teachings of Baba Rama Yana). These people combine and bounce off each other in every farcical way possible – there’s misunderstandings about sex, identity, attempts at infidelity, the theft of the diamond, romance with the typical roadblocks, and an extended sequence where Depp and Morrow have to run away from two guys trying to kill them.
I think there’s such a thing as “too horny”. Depp and Morrow arrive at the resort and, almost immediately, their eyes are out on stalks as they see the bikini-clad lovelies all around them. Are there no women where they’re from? They don’t seem shy or hideous-looking, so it’s quite odd. There’s also such a thing as authority figures being too authoritative, too – everyone who works at the hotel seems angry to an almost psychopathic level. While Morrow romances the waitress, her supervisor (who has designs on her himself) assaults him, and it leads to a fairly substantial brawl. I’d have phoned the police right then and there, but when the head of security has a gun and fires it at guests, I suppose all bets are off.
Now for the traditional “wow, I can’t believe they did that then” bit. Aside from a bit of mild anti-Japanese racism, the main offender is fat people jokes. I’ll admit, as a larger fellow myself, I have a bias, but it’s still really bad. The one woman at the entire resort who’s overweight pulls someone trying to help her out of the pool, in (and, of course, shows no shame in doing so); then at the end, in the middle of a firefight, she uses the lack of any other people at her table to eat all their food. Ah, the hilarity! I’ll give an assist to Depp’s suggestion of using Quaaludes to “loosen a woman’s inhibitions”, and not as, you may know it, a pretty famous date-rape drug.
Last-time director (he was much better known as an editor) George Bowers and long-time TV writer Gordon Mitchell lay the ridiculousness on thick and fast. You’ll find a maid trying to clean rooms in the middle of the night as not even the tenth least likely thing to happen in this movie; and, of course, there’s the classic of all men being irresistibly attracted to a man in fully-clothed drag (when the entire resort is full of hotties).
Depp and Morrow are apparently ashamed of this movie, in the same way that George Clooney is ashamed of “Return Of The Killer Tomatoes”. But that’s rubbish, I think! Depp ought to be more ashamed of just about everything he’s done in the last five years, and Morrow ought to be pleased he was top-billed in his debut. Okay, it’s not the greatest movie ever made, and it’s not even the greatest mid-80s beach resort movie ever made, but it’s fun, relentless with the farce, nice and short and features almost complete nudity from both male stars to go along with the parade of boobs. All told, not a terrible effort.
Rating: thumbs up