Every month we discuss some of the best and worst cult films ever made, from the hits, classics, underground, grind house, and utterly obscure, from Full Moon, and Empire, to Cannon and American International, it’s all here, minus the popcorn, and car fumes.
The Plot is Afoot! Lucki and her friend Ty-Dy work day to day in a bikini shop and aspire to compete for a job as their local beach’s lifeguards. Training with an uptight drill instructor and hunky trained lifeguard Brock, the two pursue the opportunity in hopes that it can open up their aspirations for modeling and acting. Meanwhile rival Bodacia seeks the job in hopes of improving her modeling career, and will do whatever she can to win, including rigging the contest. That doesn’t sit well with Lucki who has a genuine affection for him, despite his indifference toward her.
And there are boobs. Lots of boobs.
The Damage: Odds are you probably saw “Bikini Academy” in the heyday of late night cable television. It was once a proud institution. Otherwise known as “Babe Watch: Forbidden Parody,” the adult comedy likens itself as a “Baywatch” spoof. In reality there isn’t anything that spoofs or satirizes “Baywatch” save for the fact that most of the movie is set in the beach. In fact almost every shot is filmed during the middle of a sunny day smack dab in the middle of a beach. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.
I can think of worse things than watching Kelli Hoffman or Tane McClure for ninety minutes. With small budgets and some pretty crummy actors, Rick Sloane has been able to pull of a pretty great film career with some entertaining schlock. Everything from the silly “Vice Academy” series to the craptastic “Hobgoblins” has managed to achieve some bit of cult fame down the road; especially the latter. Seriously, go watch the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” episode of “Hobgoblins.” It’s one of the funniest two hours of television ever made. That said, “Bikini Academy” is not a spoof or satire, it’s just a really silly C grade sex comedy set on a beach.
I think Rick Sloane probably assumed this kind of beach sex romp would fare well in 1996, which is too bad since movies of this ilk became painfully out of style by 1990. I think in 1986, this might have been just a slight cult classic, rather than simply a cheap sex comedy that you wouldn’t miss, either way. Mind you, “Bikini Academy” is a rare movie from Rick Sloane that is softcore schlock and embraces that fact, but it’s not an experience you have to have. There’s no real up and comer like Johnny Depp in “Private Resort.” It’s just a very raunchy comedy that pulls off some occasional giggles and splashes almost every scene with curvy women in small bikinis.
It doesn’t really try to be anything else but a cheapy schlock, putting gorgeous women in the film front and center, while they compete with one another for a position as a local lifeguard. Sloane’s movie is so thin in concept that he apparently runs out of story after the first forty five minutes and begins staging softcore sex scenes set to library music. You know the kind of scenes I talk about if you ever watched Cinemax After Dark. Yes, it was probably good fodder for late night cable syndication, but it becomes obvious writer-director Sloane is padding the run time as much as he can to fit a ninety minute running time.
“Bikini Academy” revels in its low budget to deliver some of the goofiest comedy and action ever put to film. The characters have to go through a series of “Revenge of the Nerds” like trials and performances that will make them eligible for a big position as a lifeguard and a highly coveted job that will grant them some opportunities. This is especially fortunate for villainous Bodacia, who is hell bent on winning the contest to improve her modeling career. She takes every measure to win, including bedding a judge or two. Along the way the potential lifeguards also have to help the occasional swimmer, including one woman who very nearly gets dragged in to the water by what is obviously a rubber giant squid.
And in case you doubt director Sloane, you can make out the fake wobbling squid under the water as our stunt actress tries to desperately break free from its tentacles. It’s such an inexplicable scene tacked on for absolutely no rationale that you’ll giggle for a bit and then scratch your head baffled. The laughs don’t stop there. As villain Bodacia looks for a cause to bring to the competition to compete for the job of lifeguard, she conveniently finds a single marlin on the beach covered in oil, and decides to use it as an issue to fight for. Forget how nothing else on the beach is covered in oil, but the fish is so obviously a prop that it’s stiff as a board.
Who knew fish get rigor mortis? Or maybe Tane McClure is just that hot. Rick Sloane must know what everyone watching this movie does, because Kelli Hoffman is not only the hottest woman in the movie, but she manages to steal every single scene she’s shares with the cast. Despite only having a small supporting role, and popping up every now and then, every time she does, it’s a treat for the eyes. The real attraction though is Steven Todd Lange as love interest Brock. His performance here is so stilted and rigged, it feels like director Sloane pulled him out of his office during lunch to read some lines and pretend to be invested in his role.
Rick Sloane relies on a steady formula of repeating the same beats again and again: there’s some kind of cat fight between Tane McClure and heroine Raelynn Saalman, someone makes a few sex jokes and double entendres, there’s a few peeks of women in tight bikinis and Kelli Hoffman looks for any excuse to stroll by on screen.
Blood: There is no blood, but there is implied vomiting here and there, during a scene where Bodacia is selling weird veggie health shakes.
Boobs: Boobs, boobs, and lots of them for the ogling, Rick Sloane is a fan of showing off his cast members’ assets whenever he can and as much as he can. There’s even a prominent bikini shop set piece where nothing but gorgeous women walk around trying on bikinis that are as skimpy as possible. Eventually Sloane drops all pretenses and begins allowing the cast to strip down whenever they want providing a ton of topless moments. There’s even a string bikini contest, and a lot of tacked softcore sex scenes featuring simulated missionary and whatnot. It’s a buffet of busts.
Beast: For some reason director Rick Sloane tacks on a giant rubber killer squid, which appears for two scenes to drag down a hot swimmer, and then release her when she fights hard enough. We never see the rubber squid again. There is also the appearance of two fake fish that are clearly just props.
The Rundown: In the end, it all feels like Rick Sloane was still stuck in the mid-eighties, and what comes up is a fairly solid diversion that drips gratuitous schlock at every turn. There’s big breasts, big squids, and a running gag centered on corn, for some reason. It’s a classic Rick Sloane oddity.
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