Class (1983)

After our recent lengthy run of ’80s horror movies, we decided it was time to lighten the mood with a comedy. Luckily, Class a 1983 mix of college comedy and romantic drama, was a nice change of pace for us and with early, if not debut, roles for now some well-established actors.

Rob Lowe in a bra and knickers.  Setting a confusing tone for the rest of the movie!
Rob Lowe in a bra and knickers. Setting a confusing tone for the rest of the movie!

Jonathon, played by Andrew McCarthy of Mannequin fame, is a scholarship college kid trying to get into Harvard who ends up rooming with Skip, the standard rich kid, played by Rob Lowe. Initially the film starts off being a Animal House-lite college comedy with the emphasis on pranks and silliness. Skip, Jonathon and their buddies (who include John Cussack and Alan Buck who you’ll remember as Ferris Bueller’s best mate) focus on messing around and smoking a lot of pot and for a while the film is a fun but silly affair.

The first part of the movie more or less focuses on making Jonathon as vulnerable and humiliated as possible but eventually Skip focuses on trying to get Jonathon laid and sends him off to the city to get laid with $100 in his pocket. Jonathon crashes and burns mostly before he meets the much-older Ellen, played by a sultry and very English Jacqueline Bisset, who takes pity on him and eventually seduces him via some very awkward sex scenes.

God damn it.  Where was our Jacqueline Bisset when we were 19?!
God damn it. Where was our Jacqueline Bisset when we were 19?!

After that Jonathon gets his confidence and life is good until on a shopping trip she figures out that he’s not the businessman he says he is but rather a student. Eek! She ditches him and he spirals into a moping depression. To be fair, McCarthy nails the role of dumped teenager perfectly!

A while later Skip takes Jonathon back to his posh house to meet his folks and wouldn’t you know it, Ellen is in fact his mum. Awkward. After a fraught couple of days, she orders him off of her property and that’s that. However, she continues calling him until he agrees to meet her in the city again. At this point, she’s a little crazy and the film has gone from a typical Porky’s style college/get laid story to something darker.

They talk and end up in bed but Rob Lowe and chums have tracked him to the hotel and they come bursting in at which point he realises what has been going on and freaks out and Ellen has her last scene in the movie.

Class does have a pretty good supporting cast.
Class does have a pretty good supporting cast.

The remainder of the film focuses on Skip refusing to talk to Jonathon, with a sideplot of whether or not he’ll dob him into the college inspector for cheating on his SATs, and Jonathon trying to make amends until a fairly epic fight scene that ends with them battered and bruised but together. They talk it out and the credits roll.

A happy ending indeed except that the last we hear about Ellen is that she’s checked herself into a clinic for depression which is quite sad as for the whole movie we were rather rooting for her and Jonathon’s relationship to work.

So, overall it’s a good film but just a confused one. It’s simultaneously very daft and very serious but we do love a good college movie, even if this isn’t up there with Animal House or our favourite, Dead Man’s Curve.  It is quintessentially ’80s though given that it’s about getting into Harvard and getting laid.

For sure though we’re going to have to check out more Jacqueline Bisset movies. We might be a bit in love with her now.

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