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Frat Boys and Hollywood Sexploitations

Fraternity Vacation, written by Lindsay Harrison, produced by Robert C. Peters, directed by James Frawley. Starring Stephen Geoffreys and Sheree J.Wilson. Playing at Sack Beacon Hill

Fraternity Vacation is the latest in the high school/college-students-hope-to-get-laid type of movies. Of course, most of these movies are stupid and frivolous, but given their proliferation one has to judge them in the context of movies of the same type.

"Teenage sexploitation" movies, as some people call them, are about the only genre of films which Hollywood consistently produces these days. They can be pretty fun if you're in the mood for them; some of them can be better than others.

Anyway, Fraternity Vacation falls in the lower half of these movies. There are some original jokes, but nothing out of the ordinary. There's no compelling reason to see the movie.

It might have been better if it had been about an entire fraternity's vacation, but instead it concerns only three members of a frat -- typically, two horny upperclassmen and one nerdy freshman -- who go to Palm Springs for a few days' relaxation.

Back home in Iowa, everything's in black and white, but when they get to Palm Springs the movie transforms into color. The Wizard of Oz used this same effect when Dorothy went over the rainbow. In Oz there were lots of munchkins, witches and other ghoulies, while in Palm Springs there's an abundance of girls in swimsuits and beer.

The upperclassmen are out to show the freshman a good time because his father has bribed them. The freshman, however, is more concerned with watching stars through his telescope than with watching the girls out at the pool. Soon enough, of course, the theme changes and the freshman is on his way to lose his virginity while his older frat brothers are on their way to jail.

There's an interesting appearance by John Vernon as the town police chief who hates the out-of-state kids who come to party in his town. Vernon played the bad Dean Wormer in Animal House. Were we really suspicious we'd think this movie was relating college deans to the police, but fortunately, we know better.

The guys get involved with members of a rival frat in a contest to see who can be the first to seduce a local "major-league" girl. Typical movie-fantasy madness results.

In the end all the students get together and give the one up to the police. Like a lot of teenage sex comedies, the theme of community is important here. It's okay to compete against each other when you have nothing better to do, but when authority figures start hassling one of your own, one must stick together.

Like many westerns of the 1940's, these movies tell us that people have to stick together to do anything. While in the westerns they were trying to tame the West by resisting outlaws, in modern teen sex-comedies, people are just out to ensure they can have a good time, even if it means defying the police.

Fraternity Vacation is nothing remarkable and not worth seeing unless you're really in the mood for this type of movie.

Dan Crean->