We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"National Lampoon's Class Reunion" has its funny moments, but they're rare enough that we're acutely aware of them. Laughter interrupts the audience from time to time, and then we sink back into our reveries. A movie like this is either a non-stop slapstick series of laughs, or it doesn't work at all. "Class Reunion" just doesn't work. It reminded me at times of "1941," another movie jammed with weird characters, funny names, bizarre situations, cute one-liners and talented performers, but nothing that came together to make a comedy.
The movie finds its inspiration in two related genres, the Dead Teenager Movie and the Teenage Sex Comedy. It's a cross between "Prom Night" and "Porky's." The action takes place during the 10th-year reunion of Lizzie Borden High School's Class of '72, which returns to the old Alma Mater for a party that includes music by Chuck Berry, a buffet by the scuzzy school cook, and lots of crepe paper. The festivities are interrupted when one of the alums, a member of the Hare Krishna sect, is killed and swung across the stage upside down.
Other violence follows, and a suspect is quickly agreed on: The murders have gotta be by Walter Baylor, the class geek, who was the victim of a particularly cruel practical joke on graduation day. (Fans of Dead Teenager Movies will be reminded here not only of "Prom Night" but also of "Terror Train" and "Graduation Day.") Then the alums discover they're locked inside the school.
The class members are a motley crew. There's Bunny Packard (Miriam Flynn), still trying to organize everybody into fun activities; Bob Spinnaker (Gerrit Graham), four times class president, still trying to look good; Gary Nash (Fred McCarren), the Class Wimp everybody has already forgotten; Hubert Downs (Stephen Furst), the class animal, in the Belushi role; and Egon Von Stoker (Jim Staahl), a weird guy whose hairline and facial features seem to move around at random. There are also, let's see, the class witch, who breathes fire; the blind girl; the transvestite; the two potheads, and a mysterious shrink who charges in from the Institute for the Criminally Insane, the same facility that gave us the killer in "Halloween."
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