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Overall Rating
2.83

Awesome: 13.04%
Worth A Look39.13%
Just Average: 4.35%
Pretty Crappy: 4.35%
Sucks39.13%

2 reviews, 11 user ratings



Up the Academy
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by Jack Sommersby

"Like 'The Naked Gun' Only Much Nastier"
4 stars

Far more gut-bustingly funnier than those stale Judd Apatow-directed disposables.

Up the Academy, the first and only Mad Magazine production, is racist, homophobic, sacrilegious and misogynic, and darned if just about every damn minute of it isn't enjoyable. To say this movie is crass and crude and offensive would be understating things quite monumentally, for it's proudly all of that akin to a beaming mother showing off her newborn to everyone in a three-block radius. We're not, thank goodness, asked to judge the five misbehaving teenage characters, who've been enrolled at the Weinberg Military Academy by their fed-up parents, who we helplessly wind up liking because each has their own brand of wicked charm in addition to their unapologetic sins -- the only reason they're not downright imps is their principled dedication to one another in the face of a school with instructors who're even more whacked out than them. There's Chooch, the feisty, foul-tempered son whose gangster father is upset that his own flesh-and-blood has no interest in learning the family business of gambling and prostitution ("They're victimless crimes," he reasons); Ike, whose African-American father is a shrill radio evangelist, has carried on carnal relations with his foxy stepmother (before leaving, he makes sure to tell her he stashed some grass inside her diaphragm case); Oliver, whose conservative mayor of a father is running for the Senate and has sent him away until after the election because Oliver abhors rubbers and is always impregnating his ready-for-action girlfriend (though the father has no qualms of hypocritically paying for the hush-hush abortions); Hash, a hopeless kleptomaniac even though his super-rich Arab sheik of a father could buy a couple of continents (Hash gripes that a mere one-million dollars placed in his bank account will get him through just one week); and Ververgaert, an overweight slob and habitual firebug who tried to burn down the last academy he was at (the eighth one in three years). On the other side, there's Commandant Causeway, the senile headmaster prone to clumsiness; Sisson (sissy?), the fey male instructor of ballroom-dance class who takes his time when measuring the boys' pants inseams; Bliss, the busty and braless female instructor of weaponry who silkily caresses missile shells while the class libidinously moans; the jive-talking, ill-tempered soccer coach; and Major Liceman, the martinet of a drill instructor whose verbal abuse and stick-up-his-ass demeanor would make even General Patton look like a milquetoast.

The movie wisely has absolutely no sense of shame -- the boys don't become "better" in the end. It's unapologetically dirty-minded and positively dripping with such excess that even when the occasional gag doesn't come off (the cafeteria serving up pig balls with mustard; Hash on his knees bowing to cans of Castrol Oil ) there are more than enough good ones lying in wake to more than make up for it. There's the atrocious-singing quintet The Landmines who're so off-tune and high-pitched they not only clear out the gymnasium during a ball but shatter all the glass, and Liceman the lone appreciator asking if they have an album. Hash's footlocker constantly filling with stolen articles ranging from candle sticks to watches. A cracker racist filling-station attendant who sneers at being handed a U.A.E. credit card for payment. Amusing dialogue by the likes of "I feel a song coming on," uttered by a nauseous student in the cafeteria before a dash to the bathroom, and "No, I generally just piss over the side," when Chooch is asked if he wets his bed. Suffice to say, no one on this planet could ever accuse director Robert Downey of subtlety, as he more than proved in his previous outings like the tasteless media satire Putney Swope. One also couldn't accuse him of technical assuredness. Working in widescreen for the first time, the 2.35:1 aspect ratio seems to be hampering him more often than not, his editing rhythms are ragged beyond belief, and his visual sense leaves a lot to be desired (the only scene with any vitality is of a nighttime car chase in a baseball field with the stadium lights highlighting all the dirt being kicked up). But directorial deftness isn't too much of a demerit in a movie with lesbian guards at the all-girls Butch Academy snarling louder than the Dobermans while walking the perimeter -- how could one possibly shoot this that would make it more refined, as if any sane-minded moviegoer would desire such a thing in an ultra-raunchy entertainment like this? In the acting department, a pre-Karate Kid Ralph Macchio is irresistibly winning as the coarsely-direct Cooch, but the real standout is Ron Leibman, in a show-stoppingly spectacular turn as the lecherous Liceman. A veteran thespian, Liebman is as enjoyably deranged here as he was understatedly affecting as the dedicated worker's-union representative in Norma Rae just one year prior. His vocal inflections are nifty and laced with mouthwatering malice, and his whole body is totally in character throughout, with some really crackling comic timing putting a ripe cherry on a movie that, like a sundae, isn't really good for you but can be sinfully enjoyed nevertheless.

If you've never seen a turd in a punch bowl, this is your ticket!

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3095&reviewer=327
originally posted: 10/02/10 17:20:09
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User Comments

10/03/10 Mary Mcmurray It was funny by also pretty disgusting. I'm sure the younger crowd would love it. 3 stars
4/02/10 art "THE PERFECT MAD MAGAZINE MOVIE!" 1 stars
8/30/07 Alistair F. Loved this one since I was a kid. Coined "turd in a punchbowl". Plus, Ralph Macchio here. 4 stars
12/02/06 paul UN - PC and is very funny. Awesome soundtrack. Great one-liners. 5 stars
8/14/06 David Cohen I don't MAD Magazine a bit for disowning this piece of celluloid 1 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych Classic 80's and just fun to watch. They don't make comedies like this, not since the 80's 4 stars
2/15/06 Sugarfoot Mad Magazine is hilarious. The movie is bad. The Show terrible. 2 stars
3/13/05 Jeff Anderson A SCREAMINGLY FUNNY FILM REDEEMED BY LEIBMAN'S GREAT PERFORMANCE! SAY IT AGAAAAAIN!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/13/03 Jack Sommersby Raunchy and nasty, and funny as hell. Libeman is a riot as the boys' nemesis. 4 stars
9/11/02 y2mckay Crappy "Harvard Lampoon" mimic of much superior "National Lampoon's Animal House" 1 stars
1/23/02 Andrew Carden The First [and last] Of The "Mad Movie Experiment". 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Jun-1980 (R)
  DVD: 14-Feb-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Robert Downey Sr.

Written by
  Tom Patchett
  Jay Tarses

Cast
  Ralph Macchio
  Ron Leibman
  Tom Poston
  Antonio Fargas
  Barbara Bach



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