USA 1978 Directed by Al Adamson
Severin Blu Ray Zone A/B/C
One of the unexpected, somewhat dubious pleasures of slowly working my way through Severin’s beautiful Al Adamson box set is that there are a few films which are so bad that, once they’re over, you can congratulate yourself that you both survived the ordeal and that you never have to sit through them ever again. Sunset Cove, not to be mistaken for the similarly titled... erm... Sunset Cove from the same year... is just such a film.
I’d like to say that Adamson’s one and only teenage sex comedy was riding the bandwagon success of Porky’s... another film I hate in a genre which I am loathe to watch. However, this film pre-dates Porky’s by a few years and even the only slightly less famous Lemon Popsicle was produced the same year as this one so... maybe not so much riding a wave as much as helping kick start a popular genre. Despite the unbelievable success of Sunset Cove when it was released a year after production, however... it does nothing to change the fact that it’s a pretty terrible film.
It starts off with shots of people frolicking on a beach and then we are plunged into the last day of term, where two rival factions of teenagers break for their summer holidays. I don’t really know what this college is doing though because, honestly, this bunch mostly look just a little too old to be playing these kind of characters. However, the fact that they all seem a little older and wiser than the parts written on the page doesn’t stop them from acting like complete idiots and doing all the teenager clichés perpetuated on the general public by many a Hollywood movie.
That is to say, they constantly play pranks on the local police enforcement and other authority figures, get drunk (strangely not high, which is interesting), have lots of meaningless sex with each other and generally make a nuisance of themselves. If there’s an empty swimming pool in a scene... you know somebody will be pushed in. If there’s someone who looks even older than the... let’s call them ‘seasoned teenagers’ shall we? Well then they’re quite likely to lose their trousers. If there’s a gal in a shot, it’s more than likely you will see what she’s got under her top before many scenes have gone by.
So, yeah, the usual obnoxious teen hijinks ensue and then, somehow, a plot suddenly turns up and we have the mayor supporting a local building developer to build a bunch of condominiums on the teens’ treasured beach. So the film suddenly becomes about, not just playing pranks on authority figures but actively trying to combat them. And all the stereotypes are in place... the local meathead who really has a heart of gold (played by Bill Nuckols, who played Hawkman in Legends Of The Superheroes, reviewed here), the nice girl who doesn’t let all the partying go to her head as much as the others and, of course, the brainy nerd who isn’t above allowing himself to be corrupted by the other ‘over the hill’ teens’ need to party but who is also studying law... thus allowing the obvious, last minute solution to everyone’s problems to evolve in an almost credible way. Also, enabling part of that final solution, is a cameo appearance by Adamson veteran John Carradine as a retired judge, who helps put the brainy guy on the right track and ensured he gets an audience to combat the mayor and his allies.
And, even with many topless actresses thrown in for good measure, the film is not a fun watch by any stretch of the imagination (although I guess it hit a certain zeitgeist the year it was released, for sure). It gets especially gruelling with a long montage sequence as the kids whip the local community up by wearing t-shirts, painting signs and demonstrating on the beach. It’s a pretty interminable sequence and, just when you think you’ve seen the back of it, some kid with a band gets up on a stage and starts singing a song about “Save Our Beach”, ensuring that the damned montage goes on and on and on.
Sunset Cove quickly resolves itself when the time for all the padding scenes has reached the point where a respectable running time is ensured but, honestly, it’s a painful 87 minutes at best. I’m sorry for the short review but I expect I should probably stop here as I have nothing really good to say about this one and certainly wouldn’t be silly enough to recommend it to anyone. It’s mediocre at best but, most of the time, it’s at its worst.