July 22nd, 2014

MISCHIEF (1985) ** ½

Jonathan (Doug McKeon from On Golden Pond) is a dorky kid growing up in a small town in the ‘50s. Gene (Chris Nash), his juvenile delinquent neighbor, agrees to help him win a date with the hottest girl in school, played by Kelly Preston. While Jonathan does just about everything he can to get into her pants, Gene winds up falling in love with her straight-laced friend (Catherine Mary Stewart).

Mischief is a little bit different than a lot of the Horny Teenager sex comedies of the ‘80s. Most of these films paraded around as ‘50s nostalgia, but were more interested in T & A. This one actually delivers a healthy dose of nostalgia while merely playing lip service to the nudity requirements of the subgenre.

There is only one sex scene in the entire film, but it’s a pretty great one. Getting to see Kelly Preston in her prime (READ: Before she married John Travolta) totally nude singlehandedly makes this worth a look. But there really needed to be one or two other quality scenes of this caliber to qualify it as a classic.

Parts are surprising honest and frank about growing up. And the film is bolstered by solid performances by the four leads. Too bad a lot of the humor is uneven. None of it really clicks and the flick is episodic to a fault. It’s better than some genre efforts of the time, but since it doesn’t deliver on the raunch (Preston’s nude scene being the lone exception), I can’t quite recommend it.

Screenwriter Noel Black also directed the much better Private School.