Color, 1985, 77m.
Directed by Rafal Zielinski
Starring Brian Genesse, Lance Van Der Kolk, Alan Deveau, Jason Warren, Cynthia Belliveau, Mike MacDonald, Karen Wood, Annie McAuley
Severin (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9), Buena Vista (US R1 NTSC)

Following the unexpected success of 1983's Screwballs, it was only a matter of time before those intrepid Canadian filmmakers struck again with a sequel. Sure enough, Screwballs II: Loose Screws popped up two years later, sporting only two cast members from the original and no recurring characters; that doesn't matter though as it's pretty much the same movie all over again, with four sexually stunted high schoolers going to ridiculous lengths to get a peek at women's breasts. However, Roger Corman picked up the film and apparently decided it would be more marketable on its own terms; thus the title was shortened, and a cable favorite was born.

At Beaver High, four buddies -- chubby Marvin (Warren), preppie Brad (Genessee), suave Steve (Van Derk Kolk), and nerdy "Hugh G. Rection" (Deveau)-- all get in trouble for pulling off massive pranks on the last day of school, which culminates in all of the girls stripping down for a fake, videotaped medical exam and all of the male students standing buck naked in the female teacher's lounge. They're all forced to spend the summer at Coxwell Academy, which is presided over by the equally frustrated Mr. Arsenault (Canadian comic MacDonald). All of the men young and old set their sights on the new French teacher, Mona Lott (Blue Monkey's Belliveau), who can't even say "au revoir" correctly but does know how to fill out a sweater. From this point the film essentially fractures into a string of barely-connected skits as each guy humiliates himself by dressing in drag to bathe with a nearsighted sex kitten, participating in jazzercise classes, participating in a beach dance number called "Do the Screw" (featuring a very enthusiastic extra in a cut-off white T-shirt who has got to be Jim Carrey, even if he's credited nowhere for this film), dissolving all the girls' swimsuits in the school pool, and concocting a final humiliation for Arsenault climaxing in... the four leads performing a new wave song.

By an objective standard whatsoever, Loose Screws is a terrible, terrible film that could have been written by sixth graders after trying to leaf through a copy of Playboy. However, for anyone with a fondness for '80s cable T&A comedies, this should hit just the spot as it delivers one asinine scene after another designed to show off the female cast's best attributes. Bad puns and idiotic characters abound, which is exactly what you'd expect from a second-generation Porky's knockoff; None of the actors get to do much beyond their one-dimensional parts, though Belliveau and MacDonald deliver a bit more conviction than the material demands and emerge as the best of the pack. For some reason despite the constant breast obsession that would make Russ Meyer cry uncle, and it all feels strangely innocent now compared to the gutter of reality TV. Consider this an instant time machine to Reagan-era teen exploitation with a cheery disposition, catchy "hip" music, Culture Club pinups, and no socially redeeming qualities at all.

One definite advantage Loose Screws has over its predecessor is the fact that it was shot in 35mm rather than 16. You couldn't really tell that much difference in the past since Corman kept recycling the same horrendous, '80s-era video master for years even when the film was issued on DVD as part of his deal with Disney. The Severin release is a tremendous leap up in quality with far sharper detail and rich, fluorescent colors popping out in nearly every scene along with various anatomical extremities. The mono audio's nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done well enough considering the source. Earlier video versions of this ran between 75 and 77 minutes, with the latter running time applying here for the main remastered feature. Also included as a bonus is the "uncensored international version" which is "presented in authentic VHS-vision!" What that basically means is this is the 88-minute expanded cable version that played in the late '80s and contains about ten extra minutes of padding, montages, and some additional lingering T&A. It looks like this was taken from an EP-speed VHS tape that's been lying around in someone's closet, and given how scarce the video master for this must be, it's nice to have it included at all. Most viewers probably won't opt to watch this one more than once, but it's a nifty alternate version for completists and proof that people who remembered a longer cut than the one released by Corman on DVD weren't just dreaming it.

As with Screwballs, Severin have outfitted this with more extras than Warner grants its classic film noir titles, which says something pretty fascinating about the state of North America's appreciation for its cinematic heritage. Rafal Zielinski returns for another solid audio commentary in which he and moderator John Creegan make much of the blatant commercial nature of the film, talking about its tonal differences from the first film since it's "more naturalistic in style" with "more realistic characters," not to mention more copious amounts of nudity right from the beginning. He even calls the film "understated," which makes one wonder what on earth a blatant film by him would look like. Also included are two short video featurettes containing interviews with producer Maurice Smith and production manager Ken Gord, who cover everything from the series' inception at an American Film Market meet and greet following the release of Porky's to the creation of the unofficial third installment, Screwball Hotel, under the supervision of Universal. In short, the long wait is over; the definitive reference guide for Loose Screws has finally arrived.

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