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20th Century Fox presents
Revenge of the Nerds/Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (1984/1987)

Gilbert: She's not that kind of girl, Booger.
Booger: Why? Does she have a penis?

- Anthony Edwards, Curtis Armstrong

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: January 11, 2001

Stars: Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Ted McGinley
Other Stars: Bernie Casey, Curtis Armstrong, Timothy Busfield
Director: Jeff Kanew/Joe Roth

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: R for (brief nudity, adult language, sexual humor)
Run Time: 02h:58m:55s
Release Date: February 13, 2001
UPC: 024543011712
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C C-B-B- D+

DVD Review

The 1980s were what many would consider the teen comedy golden years. John Hughes and Amy Heckerling were packing them into theaters with films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Sixteen Candles. Of course, this sparked a trend of imitators, much like Scream begat I Know What You Did Last Summer: You Saw Scream in the '90s.

While not all the imitators were horrible, they certainly weren't all classics, but they did make a tidy profit with their unknown stars and low budgets. Some of them even made enough to spawn sequels. Revenge of the Nerds was a fairly innocuous teen sex comedy that came out in 1984 and made enough to produce a sequel three years later, entitled Revenge of the Nerds II: Anthony Edwards Isn't In This One As Much.

Revenge of the Nerds follows the exploits of a groups of pocket-protector clad students at Adams College. Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards star as Lewis and Gilbert, two nerds who start their own fraternity after they are rejected by every other organization of campus. They start Lambda Lambda Lamba along with Booger, the "gay off the radar" Lamar, and the token foreign kid, Tashiki. After they are terrorized by the Alpha Betas, the jock frats, the whole revenge part kicks in (remember the title?) and Home Alone style hijinks ensue, only with more female nudity (and less Macauly Culkin nudity).

The original film was rated R, and since sequels usually make less than the originals, the studio toned down Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise to get a PG-13 rating and hopefully attract a bigger audience. Unfortunately, without the gross-out, raunchy humor and nudity, the film lost any punch the first had and wound up a rather bland, flat sequel. The diminishing returns theory always holds true for anything with a "II" in the title, but there are still some laughs here and there. This time, the Nerds are on Spring Break (Wooo!) in Ft. Lauderdale visiting a fraternity convention when they are again terrorized by those pesky jocks. When will they learn?

There are some good performances here and there in these films, and actually a lot of the sorry jokes are much improved by the actors really selling their characters. Anthony Edwards, or ER fame has a big part in the first film as Gilbert, one of the "head nerds," and he does quite a nice job. He has an excellent sense of comedic timing and was also able to play the more emotional (but not that emotional) stuff as well. I was sorry to see less of him in the sequel, but after Top Gun he moved on to the bigger and the better. The other real standout, at least for me, was Robert Carradine as Lewis, the defacto star of the second film. He is able to put some life into his mostly stereotypical character. Everyone else's favorite seems to be Booger, played by Curtis Armstrong, but I just didn't find him all that funny. Of course, gross out humor isn't really my bag.

Both films are well directed. They move along at a nice clip and avoid getting bogged down too much. I can't say anything really stood out stylistically, but how much innovation do you expect in a low budget studio comedy? All that really matters is not overselling humor, and I don't think either film is too guilty of that, although some jokes do fall flat (moreso in the second film). The Nerds series hasn't really withstood the test of time, but they make for a nice, nostalgic walk down memory lane, to a time when teen comedies were allowed to be dirty, darnit! Also, they get progressively funnier as you get progressively drunker, but don't take my word for it, see for yourself!

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The transfer on Revenge of the Nerds is definitely the worse of the two, but it still looks very nice for a low budget comedy. Colors look muted and there is quite a bit of visible film grain. The print used for the film looks generally good, but a bit dirty, with whites coming off as more gray than pure white. Black level is ok, but again, the color tends towards gray more than a deep black. Fine detail is also a bit lacking.

Revenge of the Nerds II benefits from the three year gap between films; the image generally has a crisper, cleaner look. Fine detail is much improved, and the blacks look a bit better. Still, the colors appear muted. Perhaps it is just a result of the film stock used or something.

Overall, both transfers look good for films of their age/budget, and I have no doubt this is the best they have looked since they ran in theaters.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: The audio for the first film is a remix of the original mono, and the track, now DD 2.0, still sounds very simple and limited. The new mix hasn't done anything to flashy; rather the music and some sound effects have been mixed out from the center channel to the front mains. There are some panning effects between the front speakers, but the surrounds are mostly silent. Dialogue sounds a bit flat at times, but overall, this remix sounds good. The original mono is included for purists.

Revenge of the Nerds II had a stereo track in theaters, and the difference is evident on the disc. This track sounds much fuller than the remix on the first film, with the surrounds filling out the musical score quite nicely. Still, this is a very front heavy mix, with all the sound effects and dialogue coming from the main soundstage. The dialogue sounds cleaner and more natural this time, and there are still some nice directional effects.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 32 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Porky's, Porky's II: The Revenge
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Like the previous Fox Double Feature Discs, extras are limited to a trailer for each film, as well as the trailers for other double feature discs released at the same time. Included here are rather beat up spots for the two Nerds films, as well as Porky's and its sequel.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

By and large, comedies from the 1980s have not aged very well. The Revenge of the Nerds series certainly hasn't. Still, if you want to go back to a time when the jokes were less raunchy but the nudity was plentiful (Tehee! I'm horny!), this DVD is as good a choice of any.


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