Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Loose Screws

(Rafal Zielinski, 1985)
The lovable dorkiness of the original leaves a nice afterglow, and some of the gags work fine. But who needs them? Without Miklos Lente's mediating lens, Zielinski gets lazy. Not only does he choose to recycle the least inspired bits from the first movie - the mammary inspection clinic, the trip to Filmore's - but the execution is comparatively sluggish and dire. As prudish objects of lechery go, Cynthia Belliveau's Mona Lott is no Purity Bush - too earnest, too nice. Mike Macdonald is all right as the principal, but his usual knowing smirk suggests a discordant aloofness from the material, and the subplot about his love life cuts into the sense of ensemble. Did I say subplot? Oh yes - this time, free-form chaos gives way to a perfunctory and sporadic points-collection narrative, and things have slowed down enough that you notice how thin it all is. You also notice the way all the nice, game female students are used up and thrown away just when you're starting to like them; I wanted more of the nearsighted cutey and dykey matron. And where the tossed-off absurdist asides of the first film generate a good will that carries you over the iffy spots, the funny-Asian-guy routine here turns that smile upside down.

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