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Tomboy (1985)

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 11/02/02 06:55:08

"A really bad film that the lads will love."
2 stars (Pretty Bad)

Here’s something scary – there are 436 members at the Yahoo Betsy Russell Fan Club. 436 people that so love Betsy Russell that they’d sign up to an internet site just to talk about her. The scariest thing of all? I’m now one of them.

Betsy Russell, for all the awful movies she was in and regardless of her acting inability, was one hot mama. And what’s more, a hot mama that puts out. Who can forget the glorious topless horse ride scene in Private School… For Girls? Who could ignore her naked turn in Out Of Control? And what red-blooded male among us could see her strip for a racing car driver in Tomboy and not think to ourselves, “Yes, I approve.”

The truth of the matter is Betsy Russell was a teen starlet that did everything she was asked. Nudity? “No problem.” Drive a racecar? “No problem.” Ride a horse without a shirt? “I’m there, and don’t forget the camera!”

And thus we have Tomboy, a movie deprived of any real worth except for substantial glimpses of Betsy Russell’s unclad body. Betsy plays Tommy, a girl who just happens to be the best mechanic in town. She’s also the best driver in town. And the best racecar designer in town. And the best aeronautical engineer, when it comes right down to it. But while Tommy likes boys, she can’t bring herself to ‘like like’ them, that is until the hottest race car driver in town, Randy Starr (Gerald Chirstopher) shows up at her garage all wanting to see what’s in her trunk.

Tommy has a friend, of course (Kristi Somers), who is a slut, of course, which means we get to see more boobs, of course, only these ones from a slutty blonde we’d hump and forget, instead of a brunette that we’d take to a season of football games. Hey, variety is cool, especially in a 1980’s teen T&A movie where the plot is thinner than Calista Flockhart after sixteen hours in the steam-room chewing laxatives.

So Tommy and the race car driver start to hump on a regular basis, or at least as often as she’s not catching him watching porn with his buddies, until Randy’s financier challenges the couple to race one another. No time for humping now, we’ve got a race to win!

The rest you can figure out for yourself; I don’t need to draw you a map. Suffice it to say that when Tommy starts pushing buttons on her computerized dashboard and flames come out the back of her car, you’ll be compelled to hit rewind and find a scene where she’s topless again. Then again, anyone looking at a mid-80’s teen boob flick for story is either female or insane. Or worse, an insane female.

One point of interest in the film is the awful performance by Eric Douglas, as the spoiled rich kid who runs Randy’s race team. Yes, this guy is one of Kirk Douglas’ sons, a half-brother to Michael Douglas. And yes, it’s the same Douglas kid that hasn’t been able to get a film role since 1991’s Delta Force 3: The Killing Game and has found himself up on charges of drunk driving and harassing a 12-year-old girl at a psychiatric hospital in the time since. Good to see the gene pool is sometimes tainted.

But if you’re looking for someone to blame for how bad this film is, blame Bud Zelig and Herb Freed. Zelig wrote the screenplay and it would quite rightly be his last. Herb Freed directed the show, yet somehow managed to convince someone, every six years or so, to let him play director again, with Paradise Lost being the only even remotely recognizable name to his credits since.

With a screenwriter and director that have no idea what they’re doing, it’s no wonder the final result is a bit of a mess, but on the positive side, Betsy Russell did everything in her power to give us something to divert our attention.

I don’t care what your preference is, blonde, brunette, redhead or bald, Betsy Russell was a knockout - and still is to this day. She tried real hard and put her boobs on the line in a really shitty film, and that’s what makes Tomboy a very watchable, if unintentionally funny, motion picture experience.

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