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Case Number 03794

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MGM // 2003 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Bill Treadway (Retired) // January 8th, 2004

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All Rise...

The Charge

Babes, bikinis, boogie boards (oh, my!)…let the summer begin!

Opening Statement

Yet another witless wonder manages to escape a well-deserved slumber on the vault shelf to torture innocent bystanders. Spare yourself while you still have the idea of renting this in your head.

Facts of the Case

Self proclaimed "boardheads" Link (Alex Deboe) and Bernie (Douglas Spain) live for only one thing: hanging ten on a blue wave of H2O, much to the frustration of Link's girlfriend Sunny (Gabrielle Anwar).

Meanwhile, three jerks led by Ronald (Bronson Pinchot) want to score plenty of chicks but don't know how. So they recruit Link and Bernie to help them (again under the radar of the lovely Sunny).

Oh, and did I mention that Link's 61-year-old landlord Mrs. Jones (Loretta Swit) has the hots for him? And that he and Sunny are about to be evicted from their apartment?

The Evidence

Just when I thought I had hit rock bottom with The Scheme, here comes Boardheads, which while not as awful as the former, is still a very painful and excruciating experience. Never have I seen a film that tries so hard to be funny and fails so miserably.

Like The Scheme, our movie has had a troubled past. Filmed in 1998 as Beach Movie, this film languished on the shelf until now when MGM decided to give this film a shot on home video. Why they chose to release this instead of other immeasurably better movies (Your Cheatin' Heart, All the Fine Young Cannibals; two classics of 1960s cinema) is a mystery, but I guess the accounting department figured that Gabrielle Anwar's frequent nudity would spark a few sales.

Boardheads doesn't try to be a smart comedy. Heck, it doesn't even try very hard to be merely a dumb comedy. Instead, it's an unpleasant, often boring attempt at recasting the classic Beach Party formula into a '90s style sex comedy. Admittedly, the seven Beach Party movies are nothing great, but they had energy, engaging performances, and good music. Also, the direction (usually by Bill Asher, who also worked on Bewitched) was quite good for the low budget quickies they were.

Boardheads' writer and director, John Quinn, makes no attempt to supply his characters with anything worthwhile. The dialogue is cheesy and insipid, making the viewer cringe with each new line. Hold on a minute. I must be honest. I not only cringed, but my buttocks tightened to new levels of pain with each dumb word uttered. His direction is even worse, often settling on a distinct formula—medium shot of characters, cut to some stock footage of female derrieres or breasts and then an establishing shot of some sort. Quinn is also clueless when it comes to directing actors. He seems content that they mutter his dialogue and hit their marks. He allows no emoting or feeling to creep through.

One of the film world's biggest mysteries is why Gabrielle Anwar's promising career faded. I now have my answer. Upon looking at her filmography in the Internet Movie Database, we see that after she filmed Boardheads, the quality of her film roles took a sharp decline. She tries to make something of her meager role of Sunny here. Unfortunately for her, every time she adds something clever or smart, director Quinn cuts away to stock footage or characters irrelevant to what's occurring at the moment. While we're on the subject of acting, it's pretty terrible. Bronson Pinchot is as bad as he usually is in the role of the rich Ronald. Let's face it, his Balki/Serge salad days are over. Douglas Spain has been good in films such as Star Maps. I guess he realized early on that no work was required in this dud. Alex Deboe gives perhaps the worst performance in film history as Link. (Yes, I have seen Showgirls.) There is not a single redeeming quality. Not one. Loretta Swit also makes game attempts to spice up her dull character and manages to get a few chuckles. And once again, Traci Bingham and Victoria Silveredt (a former Playboy Playmate) prove that having a great rack doesn't equal great acting talent.

MGM offers your option of a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer or a full frame transfer. Both look unbelievably bad for a movie that is only five years old. Colors are extremely muted, which is all wrong for a light, breezy summer entertainment. A disturbing amount of artifacting shows up throughout the feature, including tons of specks and dirt. The overall image has a distinct haziness that distracts from the viewing experience. Now that I think about it, this is better treatment than the film deserves.

The sound mix is also poor for a relatively new film. It's in two channel Dolby surround stereo and it's unremarkable. The dialogue is often difficult to hear and the music sounds tinny and flat. It seems somehow appropriate to have a crappy transfer.

Extras are limited to trailers for various other MGM releases. Yes, they didn't even include the trailer for our film. It's just as well considering this was never released theatrically.

Closing Statement

Only see Boardheads if you never miss a Bronson Pinchot movie. Otherwise, stay far, far away. And if you—for some reason I do not want to know—decide to check out Boardheads, keep your medic card and a phone nearby just in case this mind numbing dreck induces a seizure.

The Verdict


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Scales of Justice

Video: 70
Audio: 78
Extras: 5
Acting: 9
Story: 2
Judgment: 1

Perp Profile

Studio: MGM
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Bad
• Sports

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers


• IMDb

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