Summer School1987

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Mark Harmon, Kirstie Alley, Robin Thomas Grossman, Patrick Labyorteaux, Courtney Thorne-Smith
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 97 minutes

Not nearly as raunchy as some of the other teen exploitation films that came out around the same time, Summer School is a feel-good movie in which all the characters are clueless, but also kind of likeable for some inexplicable reason. Mark Harmon stars as Freddy Shoop, a lazy physical education instructor who is forced by his nemesis (aka The Principal) to teach summer school. He's not lucky enough to get the overachiever kids who attend summer school because they want to; Shoop gets the students who have to attend because they've failed. As you might expect, his class is full of lazy losers who don't think of summer school as real school. Actually, Shoop kind of agrees with them. He's not as irresponsible as he would have them believe, although he's not above bribing them to do their best. Released theatrically in 1987, the film stars a very young Courtney Thorne-Smith (Melrose Place, According to Jim) as one of the students. And Kirstie Alley (Cheers) appears as Shoop's love interest. Directed by Carl Reiner, Summer School has an almost innocent feel. It's the silly movie trying to pass itself off as naughty, but really it's not. Summer School was released before filmmakers knew they needed to save good outtakes and bloopers for DVDs, so the special features aren't all that special. The most appealing is footage of some of the cast members while the film was being shot. But if you're curious about listening to the audio commentary offered by Harmon and Reiner, take a pass. Though both men are charming on talk shows, neither is particularly insightful here. --Jae-Ha Kim

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