After the success of films such as My Tutor and Private Lessons, and Joan Collins renewed popularity after her appearance in Dynasty, this 1979 film was re-worked with additional scenes and a misleading advertising campaign. The new scenes featured an unconvincing nude double for Collins' in scenes of her character seducing a youth, and the film promoted as an older-woman seduction story. A billboard showing a concealed nude image of Collins greatly angered the actress. See more »
Performed by The Naughty Sweeties
Written by Ian Jack
Sheijack Music, BMI See more »
'Empire of the Ants' Not the Nadir of Joan Collins' Career After All
I remember seeing trailers for "Homework" when it was released in 1982, hyping it as an older woman-younger man sex comedy à la "My Tutor," "Private Lessons" or "Class." I didn't want to see it in 1982 but sought it out recently thinking that, if nothing else, it would be fun to watch Joan Collins go into full-on vixen mode and make teen-age boys squirm. And that would be fun were "Homework" made as a Joan Collins vehicle designed to capitalize on/poke fun at her "Dynasty" fame. But it turns out "Homework" was made in 1979, when Collins' career was in a free-fall and she was appearing in movies like "The Stud" and "Empire of the Ants." She may be one of the biggest names in the cast, but not big enough to ensure this turd got distributed until 1982, when Collins was the queen of prime time.
The actual star of "Homework" is the late Michael Morgan. Morgan, who brings to mind a very young (and less interesting) Owen Wilson, is Tommy, a whiny teen so preoccupied by his virginity that he's failing his classes and needing to see a therapist (Carrie Snodgress, another slumming actress in the cast). Not helping is Sheila (Erin Donovan), the girl to whom Tommy wants to lose his virginity, if he could just get her to stop her obsessive quest to make the swim team. While Sheila swims Tommy and his friend Ralph (Lanny Horn) decide to form a band, The Flies ("The kind on your pants!"). It's the forming of the band, not Tommy getting laid, that is the main driver of "Homework"'s shambling story. Sprinkled throughout the movie are fantasy sequences (the only parts of the movie that appear to be shot in the 1980s) that seem to exist solely to pad the runtime with some extra T&A, using an obvious stand-in for Morgan. Joan Collins plays Sheila's mom, by the way. She spends most of her 15 minutes of screen time reminiscing about her teen years (flashback to the 1950s for more bare breasts!) while her husband takes a shower off camera. A stand-in takes over when Collins' character finally gives in to her awakened desires, a sex scene that would have been anticlimactic, so to speak, even if Collins had done her own nudity. (Though she was not averse to doing nude scenes in other movies, Collins refused to take anything off for "Homework," a choice made because of money rather than modesty, I imagine.)
Despite being totally inept, "Homework" is intermittently entertaining, like a scene in which a class is shown a poorly animated, 1960s-era V.D. scare film. There are also some surprising dark moments, such as when it's revealed that The Flies' drummer is abused by his father. Dan Safran and Maurice Peterson's mess of a screenplay doesn't seem to know which direction to go — teen sex comedy? coming of age dramedy? let's put on a show-style semi-musical? — and director James Beshears only makes things worse. Were this movie a little more tasteless and a lot more memorable it could easily be the "Myra Breckinridge" of teen comedies. Instead, it's a reminder of just how dire things had become for Joan Collins before she joined the cast of "Dynasty."
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