Tomboy is, in its way, perfect. It’s not good. It’s intermittently entertaining in the usual sense. But it is perfectly what it sets out to be, and like The Pom Pom Girls, there isn’t a mean bone in its body.
This is the movie I referenced the other day as being precisely what you would expect from the late, lamented USA Up All Night ((And if you follow the link, you will find that Up All Night did indeed air Tomboy. )).
It’s about a girl named Tommy (short for Tomasina, I think) Boyd who is, if you didn’t put it together from the title, a Tomboy. She’s a mechanic, wears pants, and digs “stock car” racing.
She meets up with a racing legend, has some misunderstandings with him, then proves her love to him (or he proves it to her, or something) in a climactic “stock car” race between just the two of them. She beats the pants off him and scores a chance to go to the Daytona 500.
That’s about all the plot there is.
There is also:
- A synthesizer soundtrack that will tell you without you ever needing to look that this movie was released in 1985.
- A dance number to synthesized music that’s supposedly a tryout to interest Broadway investors.
- A shower scene in which we learn that, in the 1980s, the men’s showers and women’s showers in public establishments were separate, but had an open doorway with no door between them. And that men felt perfectly free to walk into the women’s area (at least, if they were gay).
- A sex scene in a workout room.
- A Rich Jerk who is, of course, blonde. (Weren’t they all, in the ’80s? And didn’t every teen comedy have a Rich Jerk? Sure seems like it.) ((The Rich Jerk is played by Eric Douglas, son of Kirk and half-brother to Michael. He died of a drug overdose in 2004. ))
- A fairly natural and charming actress in the lead role.
Betsy Russell is the actress’s name, and she’s pretty good in this. She apparently retired in the 90s to raise her kids, but has returned to acting, portraying Jigsaw’s wife in some of the Saw movies (none of which I’ve seen). Having her in the lead role makes the movie watchable even at its worst moments, because she’s just likeable (even if she’s very obviously no kind of a mechanic).
It’s fluff, it’s fun, and it never tries to be more than it is.
If there’s any objection to the film, it’s actually to the DVD set I got it on, School Dazed, a collection of films from Crown International Pictures, mostly focusing on teen sexploitation from the ’80s. I love the set, especially at the price (I paid five bucks, and no shipping thanks to Amazon Prime), but it’s deficient. Every movie I’ve watched has had weird image problems, probably from compressing two movies to fit onto one side of one disc. It basically looks, at times, like parts of the image are being viewed through an artifacting lens. It’s not horrible, and none of the movies so far has been ruined by it, but it is noticeable. The other thing is that there are NO chapter stops. You pick a movie, it plays, that’s it.
Apart from that, it’s a great set, collecting at a great price movies that are pretty obscure, the sort of thing you can watch for a good laugh (MST3K style) or for nostalgia’s sake.