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Ignore the feminist comment about a sexist plot and non-acting cast members. This movie was one of the best the 80's had to offer as far as wacky teen comedies and at age 15 I thought the excessive skin was right on. I don't think the acting was supposed to be good. It's just like all the other teen movies we love so much by the likes of John Hughes and Savage Steve Holland to name a couple. Yeah I knew it was cheesy but the cheese factor is was what made it so great! Really funny stuff. When I watch these movies I always see someone that is currently acting on a popular drama or in some of today's biggest hit movies and it's a blast to see them as pimply little teenagers. If you are between the ages of 30 and 40 and haven't yet seen this one, I suggest you check it out.
Despite her masculine sounding name and a love of traditionally male
pursuits (fixing cars, basketball, baseball, driving like a maniac),
there's nothing remotely butch about Tommy Boyd (Betsy Russell) when it
comes to her physique: under the baseball cap and greasy overalls,
there is an absolute babe waiting to get out, as stock car driver Randy
Starr (Gerard Christopher) discovers when he invites Tommy (short for
Tomasina) to pay him a visit at the mansion of his millionaire sponsor
Ernie Leeds Jr (Eric Douglas).
A typically silly 80s romantic sex comedy, Tomboy is predictable, poorly acted and badly directed nonsense, but the oodles of cheap titillation courtesy of the awesomely sexy Russell (and Kristi Somers as her equally hot best friend, dancer Seville Ritz), a naff 'battle of the sexes' story-line, and one of the worst car races in movie history (Tommy's vehicle being equipped with a daft onboard computer and rocket propulsion) help to elevate the film from utter drivel to entertaining cheeze, making it more fun than it really has any right to be.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lovely, perky, curly-haired and highly appealing brunette 80's
flash-in-the-pan B-movie starlet Betsy ("Out of Control," "Cheerleader
Camp") Russell gives a winningly spunky performance as Tomasina "Tommy"
Boyd, a scrappy, willful, fiercely self-reliant spitfire hoyden
automobile mechanic with a humongous crush on cocky race car driving
dreamboat hunk Randy Starr (handsome, dashing Gerald Christopher).
Egged on by her flighty, opportunistic aspiring actress gal pal Seville
Ritz (leggy, luscious blonde looker Kristi Somers), Tommy meets Randy
at a jerky rich kid's (Kirk Douglas' obnoxious youngest son Eric in an
unbearably grating thespic turn) posh night party and, of course, the
two fall a** over teakettle for each other. The only problem is that
male chauvinist Randy won't take Tommy seriously because she's a chick,
so naturally the take no guff Tommy dares Randy to a high stakes
souped-up auto race to win over his respect.
Passably directed by seasoned trash exploitation feature hack Herb Freed (who also graced us with the grim, unsettling, arrestingly off-kilter psychological horror sleeper "Haunts" and the atrocious teen body count slasher tripe "Graduation Day") and scripted in strictly off-the-peg adolescent comedy-drama formula fashion by Ben Zelig, this typically tacky and immaterial Crown International Pictures drive-in fluff covers all the necessary junky bases to qualify as a pleasingly silly serving of pure nonsense: a sizable number of nice-looking busty babes take their shirts off at regular 15 minute intervals (besides Russell and Somers, we also have "Cavegirl" 's eminently adorable Cynthia Ann Thompson as a frequently bare-breasted bimbo and cheesy horror scream queen Michelle Bauer in a ridiculous uncredited bit part as a topless tootsie in a flashy white Corvette), a heavy-handed "you go girl!" stand-up-for-yourself feminist subtext, a generous smattering of witless lowbrow humor (Ritz's audition for a TV commercial is a racy hoot!), the best cornball motorcycle courtship scene since "Viva Kneivel!," cheap gay jokes, stupidly vulgar dialogue ("Good night, little *beep*!"), a horrible soundtrack full of generic, mechanically bouncy Top 40 hit tune soundalike songs (the incredibly awful theme number boasts the following immortal couplet: "She's a road runner/She's a tail gunner!"), an unforgettably hideous folks in tight, clingy leotards thrusting their pelvises to and fro to crappy disco music get down and boogie aerobic workout sequence ala "Flashdance," and an utterly predictable grand finale all-or-nothing climactic car race. What's not to like about this charmingly shoddy 80's schlock artifact?
And how can you not love that cheesy, peppy, oh-so-80s pop theme song?
This irresistible female-empowerment exploitation comedy stars the
adorable, sexy as hell Ms. Russell as Tomasina "Tommy" Boyd, a young
lady who'd much rather tinker with cars and play sports than do
so-called "girly" things. She worships studly race car driver Randy
Starr (Gerard Christopher), whom she is able to meet through Ernie
Leeds, Jr. (Eric Douglas), a filthy rich auto racing entrepreneur. When
the confident Randy isn't able to take her seriously, she sets out to
prove that anything he can do, she can do just as well, if not better.
"Tomboy" creates some pretty good vibes for a pleasant 91 minutes. There's enough laughs and titillation to make it quite watchable. A big part of the appeal is Russell, one of the iconic 80s hotties who'd also made her mark in movies like "Private School", "Avenging Angel", and "Cheerleader Camp", and who's recently made a comeback in some of the "Saw" sequels. The movie itself is silly and clumsy at times, but ultimately upbeat entertainment. Voyeurs will be pleased with the amount of breast shots on display, and can take delight in a goofy, erotic commercial performed by Tommy's friend Seville (Kristi Somers, "Hell Comes to Frogtown"). The soundtrack provides tons of cheesy goodness.
The direction by Herb Freed, who'd previously done the horror pictures "Haunts", "Beyond Evil", and "Graduation Day", may not be inspired but it gets the job done, as do the performances by an engaging cast. Veteran Richard Erdman is likable as Chester, Tommy's boss and pal; Douglas, son of Kirk and brother to Michael, is effectively smarmy as the rich jerk. Fans of 80s movies will note the appearances by such people as Cynthia Thompson (the female lead in "Cavegirl", Dennis Hayden (one of the terrorists in "Die Hard"), and trash flick favourite Michelle Bauer, in an uncredited bit.
This kind of thing may not be Shakespeare, but it sure hits the spot for people just looking to have a good time.
Seven out of 10.
I've dated women like "Tommy." They're fun for a while.
This is a guy movie. Women will be jealous of Russell's red-hot looks and will nit-pick the movie's lack of plot and acting talents (who would bring a Rolls Royce to a gas station to be repaired, unless the mechanic looked like Tommy?), but for us guys, all Betsy Russell has to do is stand there and breathe. I liked the way women dressed during the 1980s, and the hairstyles are cute as well.
The title song is catchy, and whoever stunt-doubled for Betsy Russell on the motorcycle knew what they were doing. I saw "Tomboy" the first time on HBO, so the price was right, but this low-budget movie grossed over $14 million. Not bad.
A tomboy coincidentally named Tommy Boyd is a mechanic who discovers
love when she meets a race car driver.
Crown International Pictures strike again is all I can say. These guys seemed to have made a succession of comedies in the 80's that were of a similar quality to this one. Tomboy is one of several such undistinguished efforts, all of which also qualified as that other 80's cinematic idea the high concept movie. Those were an invention of Hollywood executives, in that they were films whose plot could be described in one sentence. So, yes, Tomboy is simplistic stuff. It's one of many teen sex comedies made in that decade and it's pretty much as funny as most of them; in other words, not very funny at all. It's predictable, slightly racy and full of 80's cheese; if that's enough for you then this might appeal.
Boy, Crown International Pictures have done it again. That is, churned
out yet another entirely forgettable teen comedy, with sex and
gratuitous nude scenes to draw in the crowds. TOMBOY is a
pitifully-written '80s high school comedy about the titular character,
a tomboy who dreams of winning over the hunk of her dreams. Will she
manage it? Does anybody care?
It took me a while to realise that the lead actress, Betsy Russell, is better known for playing Jigsaw's wife in the SAW franchise. She's COMPLETELY unrecognisable here which shows how much work she must have had done. Still, Russell is a pretty poor actress, failing to invest her character with any moments of sympathy, and the rest of the cast are no better. The humour is so lightweight that it's easy to miss it, and the racing scenes and stuff are all predictable and have been done better elsewhere. TOMBOY really is a film to miss.
Trivia fans take note: director Herb Freed is better known for helming the early '80s slasher GRADUATION DAY, which is considerably better than this film!
Tomasina 'Tommy' Boyd (Betsy Russell) is an independent girl. She's a
mechanic and had always been a Tomboy. Her best friend Seville Ritz is
boy crazy and wants to be a famous dancer. Tommy only has eyes for race
car driver Randy Starr. Seville needs an investor for a TV pilot and
she talks Tommy into taking her to a party with Randy Starr and his
rich friend Ernie Leeds Jr. Randy wins over Tommy but he won't consider
her as his equal in the car. She challenges him to a race.
Betsy Russell is not the best of actresses but the rest of this cast makes her award winning by comparison. Kristi Somers does have a fun shower scene early on. There are a few scenes that shows the film knows that this is a cheese fest. Betsy is as sexy as ever even when she's Tomboyed up. This has its fun cheesy moments but it never exceeds its B-movie characteristics.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Scientists do studies to see why some human beings go wrong, but I
would put it to a set an analysts to study how a film like 'Tomboy'
ever got off the ground. This is not just a bad movie but a dismal,
pathetic one that came out in 1985 with very little fanfare, dropped
out of theaters fairly quickly without many reviews and now resides on
the dusty shelves on the backwalls of video stores.
It resides there because 'Tomboy' is an a-typical Horny Teenager Movie more interested in removing the female starlets from their clothing then with any other entertainment value. As these movies go you would expect it to be at least average but this one is bottom of the barrel even by these standards.
The movie stars Betsy Russell as a character named Tomboy, a mechanic who can build her own car out of scraps from the local junkyard. She's in love with an auto racing pretty boy but they are too packed into a nothing screenplay to be able to get to know each other in any real way. How does she prove her love? By challenging him to a race. How does winning a race prove that he will fall in love with her? Beats me.
There are long passages where nothing of interest happens and in order to keep us from completely falling asleep the dry passages are filled in with an inane soundtrack from performers with names like Snuff, Souvenir and P.F. Solo (Heard of them? Me neither). The movie promises to be a comedy but it siphons in a turgid love story that is glossy, pretty and inane.
We know what the movie's draw is and yes, Russell does take her shirt off and I will admit that what's there borders on spectacular but why waste 90 minutes of your life getting there? Since you are online, why not go look for one of the movie's screenshots, save yourself a trip to the video store and let the dust fall where it may.
Betsy Russell, the 80's B-film queen who provided two of the only three
reasons that Private School is worth seeing (Michael Zorek is the other) is
miscast as Tomasina "Tommy" Boyd, a young woman who works as a mechanic and
dreams of being a stock car driver and meeting her idol Randy Starr. She is
also the tomboy of the film, who acts like a jock with her love of athletics
than the usual girl things, unlike her friends.
Once again, this is an 80's film, so get ready for the requisites of the best decade of the 20th century. You'll see an aerobic style dancing display, shower scenes, a party, feathered hair, horrible fashions, music in the background almost half the time, etc. At least it's easier to take than the cheeziness you'll see in teen-pop videos, but it's cheddar all the way.
Betsy Russell, even with the Joel Polnochek hairstyle, just can't play a realistic tomboy. She's a gorgeous looking woman. Granted, I may be stereotyping here, but she's not the type who conveys it properly. I'd say that Drew, Lucy, and Cameron of "Charlie's Angels" fame are more "tomboyish".
While nothing more than poor, there are a few good scenes, such as the silly donut commercial that Tommy's friend Seville does, a scene where Tommy eyes her Randy Starr poster and the camera pans it down to a certain area. Also, if the makers of Gran Turismo are reading this, please put the cars featured in this movie in your next game, they rock. I'd love to drive one of those instead of a $2,000,000 F1. Otherwise, pass!
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