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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jeff Kanew / Joe Roth
Cast:
Anthony Edwards, Robert Carradine, Bernie Casey, Ted McGinley
Writing Credits:
Jeff Buhai, Tim Metcalfe (story), Miguel Tejada-Flores, Steve Zacharias / Dan Guntzelman, Steve Marshall, Miguel Tejada-Flores (characters)

Synopsis:
Revenge Of The Nerds
Two buddies (Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards) matriculate at Adams College only to find themselves unable to join a frat due to their overwhelming nerdiness. Along with a very effeminate man, a pre-teen genius, a nose-picking slob, and a exchange-student photographer, the nerds turn to a previously all-black house for a charter and plot their revenge on the jocks who scorned them.

Revenge Of The Nerds II
Everyone's favorite nerds are back! This time the gang is off to the United Fraternity Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, but thanks to the Alpha Betas, the Tri-Lambs are forced to endure Florida's most dismal accommodations. Although the boys are misled, mistreated and misused, they once again strike back, proving the importance of self-respect in a wild and wacky lesson you'll never forget.

Box Office:
Budget
$8 million.
Opening Weekend
$1.513 million on 364 screens.
Domestic Gross
Revenge Of The Nerds: $40.900 million.
Revenge Of The Nerds II: $30.063 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Surround 2.0
French Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 98 min. (Revenge of the Nerds) / 89 min. (Revenge of the Nerds II)
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 2/13/2001

Bonus:
• Trailers


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Revenge Of The Nerds/ Revenge Of The Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise (1984 & 1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 30, 2007)

REVENGE OF THE NERDS

My memories of 1984ís Revenge of the Nerds tend to be fond. Thatís not because I could identify with any of the filmís dorky protagonists, of course - no, not a manly-man like me! (Or a teenly-teen, since I was 17 when the film appeared.) Sure, I wore glasses, was overweight, had trouble with girls, collected comic books, played videogames and liked computers, but that didnít make me a nerd, did it? (Please donít answer that question.)

In any case, I found Nerds to be a funny and delightful experience when I saw it theatrically in the summer of 1984. However, that was a depressingly long time ago; would the flick still hold up after 23 years?

Yeah, sort of. While Nerds looks extremely dated, and I donít find it to provide an especially amusing experience, it offers enough charm and fun to merit a viewing.

The story is simple enough. Two geeky friends - Lewis (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) head off to their first year of school, where they expect to have a wild time as college men. Well, Lewis expects that, at least, while Gilbertís better grounded in the reality of their nerd-dom.

Unfortunately for the boys, Gilbert nailed the situation, and they receive a harsh reception, mainly due to the aggressive boys of the Alpha Beta fraternity. Headed by handsome quarterback Stan Gable (Ted McGinley), these jerky jocks make life difficult for our heroes, and things get even worse when Lewis and Gilbert link up other outcasts to create their own fraternity, Lambda Lambda Lambda. The film progresses through battles between the two sides until our geeks eventually emerge victorious.

The activities depicted will not come as a surprise to anyone who has seen a few teen comedies of the Eighties. Thereís a fair amount of smuttiness and gags about bodily functions, but it all seems good-natured and inoffensive. Nerds isnít terribly politically correct, as it features rather stereotypical portrayals of a variety of people - such as gays and Asians - but these arenít done in a nasty or hateful way, so they didnít seem bothersome.

Thatís part of the appeal of Nerds. Although it makes fun of the nerds and a variety of other kinds of folks, it doesnít do so into a mean-spirited manner. Itís also nice to see dorks as the main characters in a film, and presented in a positive way. Is it realistic that they succeed so terrifically? Probably not, but the severity of their nerdiness also is exaggerated, and the movieís generally a broad comedy, so thatís not a big concern.

Nerds benefits from a solid cast. Both Edwards and Carradine are winning and earnest as the friends. They add enough charisma to endear them to the audience but not enough to make them seem too compelling - they still gotta be nerds, after all! McGinley is appropriately smug and slick as the head Alpha, and the supporting cast on both sides works well. In retrospect, itís especially fun to see John Goodman in a wonderfully heavy-handed turn as the obnoxious nerd-hating football coach.

Revenge of the Nerds isnít a classic, and what seemed funny 23 years ago often falls flat now. The film hasnít aged well in many ways, mainly due to the laughably dated pop tunes and fashions. Nonetheless, Nerds offers an entertaining experience that seems much more charming than most teen comedies.


The DVD Grades: Picture C-/ Audio C/ Bonus D-

Revenge of the Nerds appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was a consistently mediocre transfer.

Sharpness seemed somewhat problematic. Some of the film looked acceptably crisp and well-defined, but much of the movie came across as a little muddy and soft. These tendencies werenít extreme, but the drab appearance did become distracting at times. Moire effects and jagged edges presented no discernible concerns. Print flaws were modest but consistent. The frame jittered at times, and a variety of concerns cropped up during the film. I saw examples of scratches, blotches, nicks, grit and grain.

Colors generally looked a bit heavy and muddy. Skin tones came across as blotchy and muddled, and the rest of the hues were similarly affected. Black levels seemed a bit flat but were acceptably deep, and shadow detail showed similar tendencies; low light sequences provided watchable but slightly heavy shots. Though these various problems were more prevalent during the first half of the film - the image improved somewhat as the movie continued - the overall impression remained of a drab and lackluster image.

Nerds boasted a new Dolby Surround 2.0 remix taken from the original monaural source, but it provided a fairly limited experience. The soundfield remained anchored strongly to the front center channel for much of the film. Music displayed some spread to the forward side speakers, and a few effects popped up from the right and left as well, but these instances seemed modest and half-hearted. The surrounds may have offered minor reinforcement, but for all intents and purposes, they didnít exist; the rear speakers added virtually nothing to the experience.

Audio quality seemed similarly unexciting. Dialogue usually appeared acceptably distinct and accurate, though some definite edginess could interfere with the tones at times; Lewisí laughs came across as particularly rough. Effects sounded relatively unnatural but they were fairly clear and without serious problems. Although the various pop tunes used in the film displayed little depth or dynamics, the movieís score fared a little better as it showed some modest clarity and bass. All in all, however, itís a very lackluster affair.

Almost no extras appear here. We get trailers for Nerds and Porkyís. Nothing also pops up on the disc.


REVENGE OF THE NERDS II: NERDS IN PARADISE:

1987ís Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise follows the usual sequel formula. Producers figure that if the audience liked what they saw the first time, theyíll still like it during a second viewing. As such, Nerds II falls flat due to an almost-total lack of inspiration. The first film wasnít exactly a work of genius, but it looks fresh and clever compared to this dud.

Nerds II works to place our heroes back in the position of discriminated-against underdogs. Though theyíve become successes back at Adams College, they now have to go to a fraternity conference in Florida, and thatís where they encounter nerd-hating resistance. In place of head Alpha Beta Stan, we get national chief Alpha Roger (Bradley Whitford), an even more snide snob who hates nerds. For reasons that remain unclear, uncouth Alpha Ogre (Donald Gibb) from the Adams tribe makes the trek to Florida and hangs out with the national Alphas; no other Alphas from the first flick reappear.

Otherwise, much of the original cast shows up in the sequel, though Anthony Edwards receives limited screentime. That would appear to be due to his wishes. In between the two Nerds flicks, Edwards hit it big in 1986ís Top Gun, so I guess he regarded a Nerds sequel as something on which he didnít want to spend much time. As such, the filmmakers indicate that he has a broken leg and canít attend the conference. This means we see Edwards in a few scenes, but heís generally absent from the proceedings.

Frankly, even had Edwards played a major role in Nerds II, it wouldnít have made any difference. The story provides a virtual remake of the original movie, with very few exceptions. A few differences do occur, but these are minor and mean little in the end.

Actually, one change we do see is that Nerds II seems less raunchy than the original, primarily due to the producersí desire to get a ďPG-13Ē rating. Honestly, this didnít mean much either, except we get no overt nudity in the sequel. While Nerds provided some brief full-frontal shots, the most we see in Nerds II are some wet T-shirt images.

The cast remains fairly good, and itís their presence that makes the project watchable. Itís not an entertaining piece, but we like the characters and the actors well enough to be happy to see them. However, Whitford is too smarmy as Roger. He seems less believable as a hunky power-dude than was McGinley. Nonetheless, he serves the Snively Whiplash function as the hissable villain, so I wonít complain much.

The only casting improvement comes from the presence of lovely Courtney Thorne-Smith as Lewisí love interest Sunny. Sheís much prettier and sexier than bony Betty (Julia Montgomery), though at least the latter actress went topless, while we see Thorne-Smith in no outfit skimpier than a bikini.

Revenge of the Nerds II isnít a disaster as a sequel, and there have been many crummier efforts committed to film. However, it doesnít live up to the original. Since that movie wasnít all that great to start, the decline in quality means that Nerds II never becomes little more than an exercise in redundancy that provides little of interest.


The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though the picture looked dated and unspectacular, it nonetheless presented a definite improvement over the appearance of the first film.

At times the movie still looked slightly soft and fuzzy, but these examples appeared less frequently than during the original movie. For the most part, Nerds II seemed acceptably crisp and well-defined. Moire effects and jagged edges showed no concerns, and edge enhancement was minimal. Print flaws remained consistent; though Nerds II appeared a little cleaner, I still witnessed examples of grit, grain, nicks and minor debris. Nonetheless, these examples seemed less frequent and less severe than in the first film.

Nerds II offered more satisfying colors. These remained somewhat muddy and heavy during parts of the film, but they generally came across as acceptably clear and accurate. Black levels stayed flat but decent, and shadow detail also seemed drab but watchable. Low light sequences were a little hard to make out but they appeared relatively clean for the most part. The picture quality Nerds II didnít mark a substantial improvement over what we saw during the first movie, but it demonstrated growth nonetheless.

Much better in comparison was the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Nerds II. Unlike the audio heard on the first film, Nerds II always had a surround mix, and the differences were obvious. The soundfield seemed much more broad and engaging throughout the movie. Music spread very nicely to the sides, and quite a lot of ambient sound also emanated from the left and right channels. These elements made the track fairly involving and active, and the surrounds kicked in with some modest reinforcement. The localization of the audio seemed vague and tentative at times, but the soundfield worked pretty nicely for a movie of this vintage and genre.

Audio quality appeared a bit dated but was fairly decent. Dialogue occasionally displayed modest edginess, but for the most part speech seemed acceptably accurate and natural with no problems related to intelligibility. Effects sounded mildly flat and lackluster, but they appeared fairly clean and listenable. Music fared relatively well, as the score and the various songs seemed acceptably bright and they also displayed decent bass. As a whole, the track showed its age, but it appeared pretty solid for this kind of movie.

As with the side of the disc devoted to the first Nerds, Nerds II also offers few supplements. We find theatrical trailers for this film and also for Porkyís 2: The Next Day.

The ďdouble featureĒ DVD of Revenge of the Nerds and Nerds II is an odd product in that itís both generous and cynical at the same time. On one hand, it seems nice that Fox are selling two movies on one DVD for a fairly low list price of only $24.98. However, I doubt that this combination occurred due to kindly motives. Instead - as was clearly the case with the double feature of The Fly / The Fly II - it looks like the weaker sequel has been pinned to the more popular original film to move additional DVDs.

Like most people, I strongly prefer the original Nerds. Itís nothing remarkable, but itís generally fun and entertaining. As for its sequel, that movie suffers from a distinct lack of inspiration, but it wasnít a complete loss. The film seemed like little more than a rehash of the original, but it could have been much worse, and the charm of some actors helps it become more enjoyable.

As for the quality of the DVD, Nerds fares worse, as it offers rather mediocre picture and audio. Nerds II doesnít look or sound great either, but itís an improvement on the first, especially in the sonic domain. Extras are essentially non-existent, but since you get two movies for the price of one, those omissions seem forgivable. I canít recommend this package wholeheartedly because neither movie is terribly good, but fans of the Nerds should be happy with this set.

To rate this film visit the Panty Raid Edition review of REVENGE OF THE NERDS

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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main