DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
O.C. AND STIGGS (director: Robert Altman; screenwriters: Donald Cantrell/Ted Mann/from a story by Tod Cantrell & Ted Mann/from a story in National Lampoon magazine; cinematographer: Pierre Mignot; editor: Elizabeth Kling; music: King Sunny Ade & His African Beats; cast: Daniel Jenkins (Oliver Cromwell Ogilvie), Neil Barry (Mark Stiggs), Ray Walston (O.C.'s grandfather), Paul Dooley (Mr. Schwab), Jane Curtin (Mrs. Schwab), Martin Mull (Pat Coletti), Dennis Hopper (Sponson), Tina Louise (Florence, School Nurse), Melvin Van Peebles (Wino Bob), Jon Cryer (Randall Jr.), Victor Ho (Frankie Tang), Laura Urstein (Lenore Schwab), Cynthia Nixon (Michelle), Donald May (Jack Stiggs), Carla Borelli (Stella Stiggs), Louis Nye (Garth Sloan, Drama Teacher), Dan Ziskie (Rusty Calloway, Guidance Counselor), Margery Bond (Mrs. Bunny), Nina Van Pallandt (Clare Dejavue), Thomas Hal Phillips (Hal Phillip Walker), Alan Autry (Goon); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Robert Altman/Peter Newman; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; 1987)

 
"I found little to like in this incoherent, gross, and juvenile farce by film-maker Robert Altman."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

I found little to like in this incoherent, gross, and juvenile farce by film-maker Robert Altman ("Cookie's Fortune"/"Short Cuts"/"The Player"). It was more irritating than funny. The teen comedy features stories written by Tod Cantrell & Ted Mann that were published in the National Lampoon. The studio kept it on the shelf for a long time then released it briefly in theaters before it was released on video. It gained cult status as a likable bad film that played regularly on TV, as it promoted the misfits over respectable society.

The two anti-hero angry teen pranksters, O. C. (Daniel Jenkins) and Stiggs (Neil Barry), are too callow and obnoxious to sympathize with, as they finish their junior year in a suburban Phoenix high school and decide to spend their summer vacation to get back at their racist and crude materialist wealthy insurance head neighbor, Randal Schwab (Paul Dooley), for cutting off the old age retirement insurance policy of O.C.'s senile grandfather (Ray Walston), his guardian, and thereby forcing the kid to move to Arkansas after the summer and live with his hillbilly relatives. While the smug boys attack cutthroat businessman Schwab with a series of nasty pranks, they also come out swinging against the sterile white middle-class desert suburbanites and the greedy American institutions. Out of spite, the teens buy the noisiest and worst-looking car they could find and ride it around the neighborhood hoping to upset everyone.

Adding to the uninspired anarchy is Dennis Hopper as a crazed Vietnam vet selling dope and guns, who goes along with the teenager's scatterbrained plan of destroying the Schwab home; Martin Mull as the exploiter sweatshop owner perceived as the good guy because he raises money for O. C. to remain home, by selling dresses for fat women that are made for slave wages in his factory; Melvin Van Peebles is the teen's dead-beat street poet wino pal; the gay drama teacher, portrayed by Louis Nye, is an enemy who kills the fun in drama; Jane Curtin is the drunk matriarch of the dysfunctional insurance family; Tine Louise as the hot school nurse; and Donald May plays Stigg's insensitive father.

It's a misfire as loud as the pic's lemon car, and I thought Altman's worst film.

REVIEWED ON 3/15/2013       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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