For most of the students, school is out and it is time to answer the call of the surf. But a few incorrigibles at the archetypally Californian Ocean Front High are stuck in a remedial summer English class, studying basic literacy with the school’s gym teacher, Freddy Shoop (Mark Harmon of TV’s St. Elsewhere). “But I’m not a real teacher,” protests Shoop. A school administrator
responds: “That’s all right. These aren’t real students.” Director Carl Reiner, 65, a veteran of sophisticated TV comedies of the 1950s and 1960s ( Your Show of Shows, The Dick Van Dyke Show) has turned his comic talents to producing teen entertainment. In Summer School, nubile young things wear skimpy dresses, fireworks explode indoors and a giddy good time is had by all.
Shoop, as short on motivation as his pupils, takes them on field trips to the beach. But eventually, aided by the beautifulbut-dedicated history teacher (Kirstie Alley), he turns out to have the right tutorial stuff. The film scores high marks in questionable taste: much of the humor revolves around Chainsaw, a student obsessed by gore movies. Still, the cast is highly likable, and many of the gags —including one of the longest trips to the washroom in high school history—are actually funny. Summer School is like a frolic in the surf—and just as salty.
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