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20th Century Fox presents
Porky's & Porky's II: The Next Day (1982)

"Serves him right."
- "Meat" Tuperello (Tony Ganios)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: February 27, 2001

Stars: Dan Monahan, Kaki Hunter, Nancy Parsons
Other Stars: Scott Colomby, Kim Cattrall, Bill Wiley, Eric Christmas
Director: Bob Clark

Manufacturer: CMCA
MPAA Rating: R for (language, frontal nudity, sexual situations, graphic humor)
Run Time: 03h:15m:50s
Release Date: February 13, 2001
UPC: 024543011743
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C-B+C+ D+

DVD Review

For adolescent males in the early 1980's, Porky's was a rite of passage - the first movie whose sense of lockerroom humor outdid anything you'd ever seen on the screen. It wasn't a movie to watch with your parents, or on the big screen in a public cinema; it was a movie to see furtively on cable, or to claim you had seen, even if you hadn't. It had nudity overload in the form of a single, multi-girl shower scene, foul language, and raunchy slapstick. The content barriers broken by 1960s' cinema were as nothing compared to the hushed, giggly, man-to-man recountings of this "dirty" movie's content, and more than one student succeeded in getting a call for "Mike Hunt" issued over the school P.A. system where I grew up.

I will admit I never saw the R-rated film as a 15-year-old back in 1982, and hadn't seen it since, aside from one aborted, what's-the-point partial viewing in edited-for-television form. So I only knew the film (and its sequel) by reputation, Fox's Atari 2600 game cartridge, and schoolyard legend when Fox's new double feature DVD of Porky's and Porky's II: The Next Day came across my desk.

Porky's

The film that started it all stars Dan Monahan as the short, terminally horny "Pee-Wee" Morris, a high school student growing up in southern Florida, so obsessed with "getting laid" that he will risk dignity, reputation and public ridicule for a shot at the good stuff. This makes him an easy target for the practical jokes of his friends, a group of sexist, occasionally racist and generally brainless young men, though they're not as gullible as poor "Pee-Wee." The main plot thread, such as it is, concerns the gang's journey to a sleazy, legally questionable strip joint where (rumor has it) a teen can obtain liquor and women if the price is right. At Porky's, the teens are ripped off and sent packing by the redneck owner (Chuck Mitchell) and his brother, the local sheriff (Alex Karras). The boys vow revenge, justified by the nasty beating given to Pee-Wee's friend Mickey (Roger Wilson) by Porky's henchmen.

There's no doubt that Porky's presents an adolescent boy's view of the world—the only class taught at Angel Beach High seems to be gym, women are excruciatingly attractive but frustratingly mysterious, and questions of morality rarely enter into the business at hand. The story's only point seems to be that, assuming you can't cheat an honest man, you certainly can cheat a libidinous teenager—but then watch out, 'cause he and his friends will take you down. Still, there is a fundamental honesty to Porky's—its awkward blue humor never seems commercially calculated, and its girl-chasing, self-righteous teenaged heroes seem enough like real kids to make their single-mindedness credible. One really hopes these guys will grow up before the movie ends, but they don't; still, Porky's musters a few leering, primitive, outrageous laughs (unsuitable for further discussion in a family forum) while staying true to writer/director Bob Clark's black little heart.

Porky's II: The Next Day

Hollywood's faith that lightning strikes twice remained unabated in 1983, when the sequel Porky's II: The Next Day reunited much of the first film's cast for another run at the box office. The script this time around (with assistance from Roger E. Swaybill and Alan Ormsby) seems to be another story altogether, hastily retrofit onto the Angel Beach High characters. After the first act, which uses clips from the first film and is intended as a bridge to the style of the "next day" and thereafter, the gang suddenly metamorphoses into a more mature, Shakespeare-loving group, ready to take on blue-noses, bigots and the Establishment in general in the name of creative freedom, led by Pee-Wee's drama teacher mother (Ilse Earl).

There are some glaring continuity errors here, most notably Mickey's remarkable recovery—at the end of Porky's, he's bandaged and on crutches, but the next morning, he shows up smiling and wound-free. But (and it sounds odd to hear myself say this) I think Porky's II is actually a better film than the original. The battle lines are more clearly drawn—it's a lot easier to root against the hypocritical Reverend Bubba Flavel (Bill Wiley), his misguided flock, the Ku Klux Klan, and two-faced politician Bob Gebhardt (Edward Winter) than the obnoxious but essentially neutral Porky. The cause is noble, as the gang crusades for great literature and against racism. And the characters are more human this time around—a genuine relationship between Pee-Wee and Wendy Williams (Kaki Hunter) develops, and we learn retroactively that Wendy is not nearly as "easy" as she appeared to be in the first film. School principal Mr. Carter (Eric Christmas) proves himself brave and honorable, and even perennial nemesis Ms. Balbricker (Nancy Parsons) earns a cheer from the kids.

I'm not saying Porky's II is a comic masterpiece either, but there's a bit of a W.C. Fields feel to the kids' good-natured immorality this time, and Wendy's elaborately hilarious revenge on the lecherous Gephardt at a fancy dinner club would not seem out of place in a Marx Brothers film. These are easy targets, to be sure, but it's still great fun to watch the kids accomplish what adults rarely have the gumption to do—hit their enemies where it really hurts, without fear of social or legal reprisal. Less smarmy and more fun than the original movie, I enjoyed Porky's II: The Next Day a lot more than I expected to.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Fox presents Porky's and Porky's II: The Next Day in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, preserving the original theatrical aspect ratios (an extra treat in this case, as many people have only seen these films on pan & scan videotape). Porky's suffers from some softness, flecking, and a low budget level of grain that occasionally leads to digital blocking and clouding in dark areas. Porky's II looks quite a bit cleaner, though still a tad soft. Both films look quite nice overall, with solid color and decent detail; they just have a low budget look about them, as is to be expected.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Porky's & Porky's II features three soundtracks for each of the films: original English monophonic, French dubbed mono, and a newer English Dolby 2.0 Surround presentation. English dialogue in both films suffers from some distortion, clipping and obvious post-production looping, and there's not much in either film to push the limits of anyone's system. The 2.0 remix is very conservative, with almost no difference from the monophonic original. The only differences I noticed were a few atmospheric surround effects and some spread out music in the front. As is often the case with these sorts of lamebrained comedies, it's great fun to watch either film with the French audio engaged - somehow, the language we often associate with foreign films of quality makes the Porky's goings-on even funnier. Both films feature competent digital transfers from middling, low-budget audio sources.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 44 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Revenge of the Nerds, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Fox's double-feature DVD is fairly light on the extras. Porky's is given 20 picture-menu chapter stops, with 24 for the more plot-intensive sequel. Both films feature optional English subtitles, original trailers, and cross-promotional trailers for the first two Revenge of the Nerds films. All the trailers are in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, with some print damage here and there; the Porky's trailer is particularly entertaining, as it couples the venerable Twentieth Century Fox logo with an exploitative "Unfortunately, we can only show you the OUTSIDE of Porky's!" promotional approach worthy of Kroger Babb. The disc is still a good deal, but the lack of any major supplements is a bit disappointing given the reputation, er, stature of these films.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Porky's and Porky's II: The Next Day are a pair of raunchy but fundamentally old-fashioned teen comedies, pitting the energy of youth against easy adult targets. Fox's DVD features solid transfers, given the source material; supplements are few, but the double-feature presentation makes the disc a good deal anyway. The Porky's films are revered as comedy classics by a certain generation; your mileage may vary, but the films are still good for a few laughs. (Now where's Porky's Revenge?)

 


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