Class Blu-ray Review: Pre-Brat Pack Comedy Drama That Pops Like Flat Champagne

Class (1983) directed by Lewis John Carlino and featuring music by Elmer Bernstein is an unbalanced comedy drama that finds two prep school friends at odds after one begins an affair with the other’s mother. Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy star as best friends while the stunning Jacqueline Bisset plays a seductive woman in crisis. Class finds Lowe fresh from The Outsiders (1983) and marks the debut of McCarthy. Other notable names in their first film roles are John Cusack, Casey Siemaszko, and Virginia Madsen while young Alan Ruck and Joan Cusack are only a couple of movies into their fledgling careers. Also making appearances are Cliff Robertson, Stuart Margolin, and Anna Maria Horsford. 

Buy Class Blu-ray

New kid in (prep) school Jonathan (McCarthy) gets “initiated” with pranks by his roommate, Skip (Lowe), who’s also one of the most popular guys on campus. Jonathan pranks him back and the two become best buds and merry pranksters on campus along with their gang of fellow goofs (that include Cusak, Ruck, and Siemaszko). Jonathan is a flop with chicks and Skip eventually sends him into the big city with directions to a bar that is patronized by cougars on the prowl. Little do either know that the one woman who pitied Jonathan is Skip’s mother, Ellen (Bisset), who deals with her strained marriage by fooling around on her rich hubby (Robertson). 

Once Ellen and Jon find out they have Skip in common, they break off their tryst but feelings run deep and the two meet up one night at a hotel. Skip, being the good pal he is, thinks that Jon is off being a solo lonely guy and decides to surprise him at the hotel. Surprised, Skip finds Jon doing the horizontal mambo with his mum and the two begin a cold war that will turn hot as tensions rise during a school-wide investigation into SAT cheating. The boys will eventually duke it out in the mud like a couple of frat boys at a pillow fight before they hug it out over a lame joke and resume being besties before Class closes out.  

Class isn’t sure if it wants to be a slapstick, Animal House-style comedy with some crude Porky’s moments splashed about or a drama that’s more The Graduate-esque. There’s an uneven back and forth between serious mature concerns and sophomoric gags. Lowe and the lads that will eventually lead Hollywood’s teen movies are clearly still in search of themselves as actors and have yet to hit their stride. Lowe, alongside McCarthy, is a little too goofy at times and their silliness seems forced and dopey. 

Bisset’s character starts off seductive and playful before we’re shown she’s sensitive and troubled. Bisset has stated that some scenes were cut from the final version that showed Ellen in the hospital where she’s visited by Skip. Those lost scenes, says Bisset, are not only why she took the role but they would have given her character depth while providing more information about her motives. The scenes would have also given us more background story about her husband and their strained relationship along with how that affects Skip.

Class is pre-Brat Pack frivolity that tries to maintain a serious thread but falls short in its uneven attempt. This one is mostly forgettable though it is amusing to watch the young cast members stumble around fawn-like in search of an on screen presence. Amusing and fun in that regard, though not highly recommended. 

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Joe Garcia III

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