Tomboy (1985) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
18 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
How can you not love Betsy Russell?
Hey_Sweden21 August 2013
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.
14 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An enjoyably dopey piece of 80's Crown International teen comedy trash
Woodyanders21 June 2006
Warning: 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?
12 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Movie!
stickNhead6 December 2006
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.
19 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I'd like a full service please!
BA_Harrison11 January 2013
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.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Plot is silly, but Betsy Russell is worth it...
ca_skunk19 August 2009
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.
11 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
blackcapricorn200322 October 2004
This is perhaps one of the best "worst" movies ever made. This movie is so bad that most people who worked on it never worked again in Hollywood. The earliest anyone worked after this movie was 1989. It was certainly a career killer. But it was much more than that. If you think a girl shooting hoops on a motorcycle is hilarious or that a race car goes faster because cardboard accessories and onboard computers, this is the movie for you. This is one of the finest examples of the teen "sex-politation" genre in the early 80s. It stars the the recently deceased Eric Douglas and Betsy Russell (who was the Gretta Garbo of this genre). If you can find this movie- buy it. It is that good.
13 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fun Movie To Watch
antbar-293014 October 2018
I do not know what people who did not like this movie were expecting, but considering when it was made and the subject matter, this movie is great. It was fun to watch. I enjoyed the nudity, which in the context of the movie, made sense. It did not make me laugh but it did make me smile. The acting was good to great. The subject of a strong woman overcoming sexism to put a man in his place is a great one for this time during which a sexist misogynist is leading the country. Yes, it was cheesy, but that was to be expected. This movie is definitely worth taking the time to watch.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Pitiful teen "comedy"
wrghtrwright3 May 2000
Please. don't you just get sick of all those films that are just made as an excuse to put as much female flesh on display as possible? This one is probably worst than most though: not only do you have to put up with the usual bimbos and hunks with perfect teeth but no visible trace of any acting ability, you also have to endure some painfully cliched love scenes (complete with drippy mid 80's soundtrack of course) and an end race between the female lead character and her professional race-driver boyfriend that could have been lifted straight out of Grease (I won't bother telling you the outcome, if you hadn't guessed by now you've obviously never seen one of these underdog movies before, and good luck to you). Still we do learn a couple of interesting things from this film, one is that if you're a man (or a woman) who wants to get into the opposite sexes changing rooms, all you have to do is walk round the wall of your own changing rooms and you'll find it! Oh yeah, and all you need to turn a old rustbucket of a car into a gleaming new 150mph dream machine is 500 dollars and half a dozen spare parts from your local trashheap! So enjoy this flick, but most of all be prepared to have a blooming good laugh...
11 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Another 80's teen flick, yay!
BlackJack_B24 August 2002
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!
6 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Tomboy great 80's boob comedy.
cerealmon3 May 2020
Another selection from the Mill Creek 200 drive in cult classics box set.

What can I say about this one. If you like lame comedy weak plot, cheesy soundtracks and ample amount of nudity you will love this.

Tommy is a misunderstood gal. She loves fixing cars being tough and racing. No one respects her for being herself they all want her to be more girly and get laid already.

These movies were a dime a dizen back in the 80's. To friends just having fun and getting in to trouble. There is a race and montages but really not much to say.

Great movie kept my interest and was never boring. Some really good stuff here. If you haven't seen it I would give it a watch.

Definitely a highlight in this box set so far.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
'Oh Boy' is more like it...
wrightiswright9 August 2015
You know the drive-in experience... Trying to find a good parking space... The queue at the intermission for snacks... And of course, the *ahem* entertainment you can have in the backseat if the movie sucks...

Which it invariably will.

Tomboy is one such 'delight' of a bygone era. You may think, looking at the packaging and tagline, it's an attempt to tackle the very serious subject of a young female trying to make it in the man's world of mechanics and motor sports.

Heck no.

This is instead, a rather cunning subterfuge for it's REAL agenda... Which is of course, to display as much female flesh as humanly possible. It does a pretty good job of it, I suppose. Not a moment goes by where our director concocts a situation that he can exploit to load the back and foreground with soft core naughtiness.

Naked Swimming. Stripping. Shower scenes. Hot dancing. Wet T shirts. And of course, the predictable moment when the music turns soppy, and everything is shot in soft lighting... Yep, the Obligatory Sex Scene (TM). This particular one is filmed in a gym, and features our heroine literally having her top TORN off, by the aptly named Randy.

I hope she got reimbursed for her damaged clothing post-coital. The film never specifies if this is the case. Talk about your plot holes...

Betsy Russell tries her best, she really does. An actual film promoting her struggle in a male-dominated industry might have been interesting. Alas, all we have is this collection of cheesy montages and Carry On-esque humour, so I guess you'll have to make do with it...

Actually, no. You don't. 4/10
3 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I made the mounts
nogodnomasters15 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Tommy Boyd (Betsy Russell) is an unconvincing tomboy who is carefully edited. She is also a grease monkey minus any grease or dirt and always has a nice clean manicure as most auto-mechanics and welders. She was a wild friend Seville (Kristi Somers) who will do anything to endear herself to the motion picture industry. Tommy idolizes local race driver Randy Starr (Gerard Christopher) but wants his respect too which she can gain by racing cars.

On the surface, this is a lousy film. Betsy Russell gets an "F" attempting to play a mechanic. This film is available in at least two different 50 DVD collections of "B" movies and '80's films. What makes this film a hit is the classic 80's nude scenes provided by both Betsy Russell and Kristi Somers. If not for Phobe Cates, this would certainly be some of the best of 80's boy fantasy.

8 stars for the nudity.

Guide: F-word, sex, nudity (Betsy Russell, Kristi Somers, Rory Barish, Cynthia Ann Thompson, Michelle fact she just drives onto the set, flashes and drives off.)
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
As dull as a beige room . . . but Ms. Russell is spectacular to behold.
The_Film_Cricket27 February 2014
Warning: 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.
2 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Lame, girl taking on a guy role exploitation movie...
dwpollar1 September 2008
1st watched 9/1/2008 - (Dir-Herb Freed): Lame, girl taking on a guy role exploitation movie starring Betsy Russell as the mechanic, race-car driving Tommy in her normal b-movie wink-at-the-camera persona, where she gets to show her body every once in a while and feel good about her looks. But seriously, the core of the movie is about the little guy(or in this case girl) taking on the big guy conglomerate, I think. The small-time mechanic, Tommy, creates her own car and keeps a picture of her idol stock car driver, Randy Starr in her shop. Well, don't you know, she gets to meet him, have sex with him and challenge him to a race. Oops!! I guess I just told the whole story, except of course, who wins. I'll leave that up to you if you wish to view the movie past the sex scene. The movie is full of lame performances and proves to me that the perverted audience has a say in Hollywood. The movie got made and actually made some money despite it's lameness. If your idea of a good time at the movies is dumbing your senses and enjoying a little titillation then this movie is for you. Enjoy it!!
2 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
cheesy sex romp
SnoopyStyle29 July 2015
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.
1 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Rubbish teen comedy
Leofwine_draca25 November 2015
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!
1 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Lots of boobs & bad acting with little humor
zep-314 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Tomboy is just another entry in a sea of indistinguishable 1980's T&A films. Bad music,bad clothes,bad hair,bad acting and lots of boobs are the requirements for 80's teen sex films and Tomboys got em all.

There is something like-able about Betsy Russell but her acting in Tomboy is just awful.She is totally stiff,and her lines are delivered with no emotion and are often delivered too early or too late and don't feel natural at all.Seems like she is just repeating memorized lines like someone who's just starting acting school.There are a few cringe worthy scenes where she has no lines but has to act like she's laughing hysterically and its so fake that its painful to watch.She also emits some bizarre noises when she laughs.

The race at the end is so bad,it looks like they are going about 40 mph and the cars that i guess where supposed to look bad-ass look like awful kit cars that were made in Mexico and are about to fall apart.

Dumb movie with enough boob scenes to get you through 90 min but one viewing is enough. Movie 3/10 boobs 7/10 overall 5/10
1 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
More 80's cheese from Crown International Pictures
Red-Barracuda12 March 2016
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.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed