John Cusack is often dismissive of the ’80s teen comedies he made with director Savage Steve Holland, but both Better Off Dead and this follow-up are surreal twists on the genre that deserve not to be forgotten. The basic narrative is a typical slobs-versus-snobs clash on Martha’s Vineyard, culminating in a yacht race between the preppies and the underdog underachievers – standard fare but for the off-the-wall details added by Holland’s twisted imagination and a colorful cast that includes indispensible ’80s second-bananas Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds) and Bobcat Goldthwait.
Yeah, there’s a perfunctory romance between Cusack’s lonely cartoonist and thrush Demi Moore (no, really, she’s a singer), but the heart of the movie is in sequences like the one involving an architectural model of a planned resort community. Goldthwait finds himself in a Godzilla costume, and when a stray lit cigar gets tossed into his mouth, he runs screaming, with smoke billowing from the lizard’s mouth, and stomps all over the tiny town. Just for building that gag over time and for including it for no good reason, Holland’s movie deserves a place in the summer-comedy hall of fame.
Next Summer of Sam