Friday, June 23, 2017

Malibu High

Crown International pulled off one of the great bait-and-switch routines with this sleazy crime drama that was advertised as a light-headed teen romp along the lines of MALIBU BEACH, which Crown had just released. Not only is the tantalizing California blonde (‘80s TV actress Mary-Margaret Humes) posing on the one-sheet not in MALIBU HIGH, neither is Malibu. TEEN TERROR, HIGH SCHOOL HITGIRL, and LOVELY BUT DEADLY were early (and accurate) titles under discussion before Crown decided dishonesty would pay off better. And it must have, because MALIBU HIGH played theatrically for several years.

MALIBU HIGH follows Kim (“introducing” Jill Lansing in an amateurish but undeniably go-for-broke lead performance), a tough brunette with bad posture who’s flunking out of school and fighting with her mother. Tired of being pushed around, Kim decides to—what else?—use her to-die-for bod to get ahead, seducing her teachers to score all A’s and turning tricks to earn bread. She gets tired of scoring with dirty old men for only 40% of the take, so she tells pot-dealing pimp Tony (Alex Mann) to get screwed and upgrades to the surprisingly agreeable Lance (Garth Pillsbury from Russ Meyer movies), who not only gives Kim 60% of the take, but also convinces her to become an assassin!

How a typical California teenager graduates from high school hooker to gun-wielding hitwoman is an amazingly delirious path in the hands of clumsy filmmaker Irvin Berwick (HITCH-HIKE TO HELL), who also saddles MALIBU HIGH with one of cinema’s most inappropriate scores. Fights between Kim and her mom are punctuated with the bumper music from SCTV NETWORK 90, while the climactic chase is supported by the theme to THE PEOPLE’S COURT (actually a library cue composed by Alan Tew). Most of the performances are grim, though Lansing, who doesn’t appear to have done anything else, does a decent job, considering she has to carry the entire film—and doubtlessly with little help from her director. They don’t make ‘em like MALIBU HIGH—now or ever—and we’re worse off for it.

1 comment:

englishteacherx said...

Yeah, when will movies ever have the courage again to deal with the issue of teenage schoolgirls screwing their teachers for grades, and then becoming hookers before being led down the inevitable path towards paid assassination?