Fox Home Entertainment kicks off the summer with the recent re-issue of some of the funniest films in its massive back catalog, some of which are hitting Blu-ray from the very first time.
Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
The now classic tale of revenge and precursor of the nerd revival in pop culture, Revenge of the Nerds is still as irreverent and hilarious as ever. The perfectly cast Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards as Lewis and Gilbert lead the rag tag group of underdogs at Atoms College against the jock overlords that run the school’s Greek Council, giving them final say on almost everything on campus. Revenge of the Nerds was one of the leaders of the 80’s raunchy comedy genre, and spawned many impostors who never quite got the fact that the real reason the film worked was the heart and emotion behind the characters. The film does essentially use racism and sexism for laughs, but questionable content aside, it also pushes boundaries and is genuinely funny. The disc also comes with a commentary track, some featurettes and the pilot episode of the ill-conceived television series that thankfully never made it to air.
Bachelor Party (1984)
Before becoming a Hollywood mega-star off the success of his first major hit Splash, Tom Hanks had another film that hit theaters that same year with Bachelor Party. Another example of the raunchy comedy craze that had started to really take off in 1984, beginning with films like Porky’s and Fast Times at Ridgemont High from the year before, Bachelor Party used a threadbare premise and script to fasten a movie around the talent of its main star. Booze, drugs, sex and improbable hijinks ensue as the film moves from one ridiculous set-up to the next. Hanks manages to keep it all together together, along with a undeniably charismatic Adrian Zmed, to deliver a passable comedy that hits more than it misses. The Blu-ray disc does not feature the greatest transfer as it still contains a lot of grain, and there are hardly any new features than that of the original DVD, so those looking to pay for the upgrade may want to keep that in mind, though the affordable price certainly softens the blow.
Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)
While not as raunchy as the two earlier films on this list, Weekend at Bernie’s has become a screwball comedy classic over the years and now finally has been released with a Blu-ray edition. The ridiculous adventure of Richard and Larry, played by Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman, as they visit their boss for a weekend away at his beach house only to find that Bernie has been killed, and they are set up for assassination as well! Larry and Richard’s attempts to keep the appearance of Bernie being still alive are of course preposterous and childish, but that’s the point. Think of is as a Marx Brothers/Three Stooges bit updated for 80’s sensibilities, with nerdy leads and a beautiful romantic interest embodied by Catherine Mary Stewart’s Gwen. For all its lunacy Weekend at Bernie’s wins you over with its charm and engaging lead performances. The Blu-ray features no special features at all, but the transfer looks great and it is modestly priced as well.
The Ringer (2005)
Jumping ahead a couple of decades, The Ringer is a film that is clearly the result of the influence of these 80’s comedies, and one of the first leading roles for Johnny Knoxville after the breakout success of Jackass. Knoxville stars as a likable shlub who ends up being roped into a scheme to fraud the Special Olympics after he cannot muster the courage to fire the poor janitor at work, leading to disastrous results. The main cast is made up of a mixture of real mental/physically challenged actors and non-impaired actors and they predictably steal the show from Knoxville. The film carries the seal of approval from the Special Olympics so you know Knoxville’s character will get his comeuppance in the end, but there is plenty of funny goings on along the way in this winning comedy. Re-released as part of Fox Searchlight’s 20th anniversary, The Ringer looks great but only features a handful of special features.