NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CLASS REUNION (1982)
Article 4025 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Michael Miller
Featuring Gerrit Graham, Michael Lerner, Misty Rowe
What it is: Slasher comedy
A high school class reunion is crashed by a former student, the victim of a cruel prank, who went insane and now seeks revenge.
The most famous movie with the “National Lampoon” moniker on it is, of course, NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE, a movie that is considered a genuine comedy classic. I’m going to confess right now that, despite its reputation, that movie left me cold; I remember laughing twice at it. So if their acknowledged classic left me cold, how do you think I’ll feel about this one, which died at the box office and suffered from horrible reviews? For one thing, I’m not going on any campaign to change this movie’s reputation; outside of a single joke that raised a smile (and, much as I hate to admit, it’s probably the most disgusting joke in the movie), I found it obnoxious and desperate. The script (by John Hughes, who would go on to bigger and better things but had to start somewhere) is a major culprit, but not the biggest one; the sloppy execution and uninspired direction are what really sink this one. It’s almost as if the movie wants to get by on energy and good intentions without taking the trouble of actually trying to get individual moments to work. There’s lots of bizarre characters floating around (including a vampire and a former cripple who overcame her problem by making a pact with the devil), but the only ones I found genuinely amusing were the two stoners. It certainly doesn’t work as a parody of the slasher genre; it makes no good use of the various conventions and cliches of the form. All in all, this is just one big, loud, bad comedy.