Private Resort (1985) – A Review
(Leslie Easterbrook opens her closet, sees a naked Johnny Depp)
“What are you doing here?”
“What do you mean, you left us your key!”
“Are you crazy? My husband will kill us both if he finds you here!”
“What are we going to do?”
“Well, get dressed!”
“I can’t your husband is sitting on my clothes.”
Hey, if you ever wondered what it would be like if the stars of Northern Exposure and the Pirates of Carribbean franchise had to hide a half-naked woman from Andrew Dice Clay in a hotel room then Private Resort is the movie for you!
Actresses who go onto great fame sometimes have some tawdry secrets they hope get forgotten in the mists of time. Jobs they took when times were rough and they were willing to take any role that came their way. They were young, fresh faces and just hoping that maybe this poorly written role in this cheap production their agent got them an audition for would lead to their big break – or at the very least help pay their rent for the month.\
There’s a laundry list of actresses who took on roles in embarrassing movies and some who went the extra mile and willingly went au natural for the sake of art – or that paycheck.
Most of those early notorious films will never show up on their highlight reels at the Oscars. You can bet they won’t be showing clips from Fire on the Amazon at Sandra Bullock’s career retrospective.
While they might find those early lean years embarrassing and have regrets about them today, those moments where they showed the world their birthday suits will never truly be forgotten. Fans, the internet and movie collections will always help preserve them for posterity.
As too with male actors, they also can have some unmentionables they would rather see buried and never get unearthed. Some early embarrassing moments in their careers that might have seemed like a good idea to take at the time. Once establishing some creditability in their latter years, those early gigs are something less likely they would put on a resume and more like something they’d want to chuck down a very deep well.
We common folk only have to worry about cheesy high school yearbook photos to stash away, but thanks to cable, VHS, DVD and streaming it’s unlikely the transgressions famous actors made a long time ago will ever get hidden away completely.
So this brings us to Private Resort, a 1985 teen/sex/comedy that supposedly both stars Johnny Depp and Rob Morrow wished they could destroy every existing copy of and eliminate it from cinema history.
Yeah, it’s a silly, juvenile comedy, but Depp and Morrow shouldn’t feel that ashamed of it. Don’t worry about it guys, we understand.
Private Resort is something of a conclusion to the ‘Private Trilogy’. Producer R. Ben Efraim was the man behind Private Lessons in ’81 and Private School in ’83. Wanting to keep a good thing going I guess he convinced TriStar Pictures to go for a trifecta and Private Resort was born.
Admittedly this ‘trilogy’ definition for these three movies is really, really loose. None of the movies have anything to do with each other, they don’t resemble one another and the only thing that connects them is they were all produced by Efraim. and they have ‘Private’ in the title.
I guess we could call it a crappy attempt at a teen/sex/comedy cinematic universe. They probably would have managed it better today.
|Depp getting wacky|
Anyway, Depp and Morrow play Jack and Ben two horndogs on the prowl who have just arrived in sunny Florida for a vacation at this Private Resort (I read most of the movie was filmed at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida). They only have one thing on their mind – getting laid. There’s no loftier motivations, no moral that needs to be learned, they just want to score with some girls. Simple enough huh?
But let’s complicate things for our heroes. Also staying at this resort is Hector Elizondo and wife Leslie Easterbrook. Elizondo is a criminal known as the ‘Maestro’ and is planning to steal a valuable necklace off the throat of ditzy rich widow Dody Goodman (Grease and Splash fame).
Jack and Ben have their eyes on the granddaughter of Goodman Dana (Karyn O’Bryan) and a resort waitress Patti (Emily Longstreth). This is where a bit of romance takes shape. Morrow stands up against the waitress’ mean supervisor who treats her bad and she’s all thankful to him. Those are the scenes that are meant to give the movie some genuine heart I think, along with a supposed romantic montage of them frolicking around on the beach, riding bikes and laughing hysterically.
In between that there is a barrage of slapstick involving mistaken identities, awkward misunderstandings, miscommunications, a religious nut, foiling the Maesto’s plans, the German resort barber, the angry put upon stiff head of resort security, a bottle of quaaludes, the guys running around buck naked, sight gags aimed at a fat girl, Morrow in drag and of course guys being attracted to him, politically incorrect gags of Asians with cameras, a Jeff Spicoli knock-off, a lot of running around, pratfalls, slaps, and goopy items spilling on the dopey older folks, along with of course young gals showing skin.
I said Depp and Morrow shouldn’t be too bothered by this movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. This is a very generic, silly ’80’s teen/sex/comedy. Here, you’ll find all the staples of the genre you could hope for. There’s an aerobics scene. A shower scene. The idiotic guy falling into the pool. The little kid who’s always trying to get an eyeful of some naked girls.
And oh yes, plenty of lovely, archetypal 80’s young ladies strolling through scenes wearing bathing suits and baring their all. The movie certainly delivers on that obligatory ingredient. In fact, Private Resort contains one particular gal who left an impact on me ever since seeing this movie oh so long ago late night on cable. But I’ll get to her in a bit.
What’s funny about a lot of the comedy situations in this, is that they are so incredibly contrived and forced. I don’t exactly expect realism in a teen/sex/comedy, but if you’re going to get goofy than make it payoff!
Here, it’s a full blown silly farce, which is fine…if it had some laughs. A lot of the scenes might have been mildly amusing had they gone on for a minute or two. If you’re not getting any chuckles out of this scene the movie would move onto the next one. Here, these scenes go on way too long and they try to drain every drop of humor out of them- unsuccessfully I have to say. They couldn’t even sustain most of these gags for a minute, it’s really tiring seeing some of them drag out to the full blown five minute mark!
|Morrow getting an eyeful|
We get it, Elizondo is sleeping and Morrow just gave him a bad hair cut. We get it, they have to sneak out Clay’s comatose girlfriend out of their room before he sees her. We get it, the resort security guy is chasing a naked Morrow. This is the best comedy the movie can come up with and if this stuff isn’t doing it for you it’s going to feel like a real haul. They didn’t try to come up with much of a story to sustain the runtime in this.
One odd thing about a lot of the wild, chasing around scenes is they don’t come off particularly like unrestrained hilarity because they’re put together so shoddy. The music that accompanies a lot of the running around scenes (usually in the same hallway over and over again) doesn’t help add to the wackiness that is supposed to be taking place. Even if they threw in that Benny Hill song it would have made these scenes move better! It ends up being pretty lifeless.
By the time Elizondo is shooting his gun at the guys I was just watching with barely any interest. It’s one of those simplistic things where the bullets only hit windows and fruit buffets while Depp and Morrow scramble around and act all panicked.
|What a predicament!|
These are one of those teen/sex/comedies that were disposable entertainment as soon as it came out. Most of the movies in this genre didn’t have any loftier ambitions other than making some quick cash and inevitably didn’t have a long shelf life. They don’t contain that much other than insipid comedy broken up every ten minutes or so by a girl losing her top. There are some of these movies that hold up, but most of them are barely worth watching today, other than for nostalgic purposes.
I bet if most of these teen/sex/comedy movies got released today they would get crucified. Adam Sandler might have been mocking them. They don’t contain much more value than once upon a time sitting late at night watching them on cable and waiting for some boobs to show up. They don’t exactly age well. Mostly you had to be the right age and living at the right time to appreciate them on some kind of level. It’s not like if you put one on today you’ll get to see exquisite filmmaking take place.
Sure, you got the novelty of seeing Depp and Morrow young and hungry in a movie they would never go near today. Plus, they show off their butts – that might be an allure to female viewers. To their credit they’re no better or worse than most of the young actors who got hired in these kind of movies back then. There’s just not a lot going on here to hold your attention from the thin comedic scenarios that the movie has.
Elizondo is fine as the put upon Maestro. Most of the gags he gets are getting hit in the balls by a golf ball, Morrow giving him a bad haircut and him getting mad, him getting kneed in the groin by Goodman, you know it’s that kind of stuff. I suppose he handles it as well as you can expect.
I will say he is a very diverse actor. It was hard for me to believe that this was the same man who played the deadly Mr. Grey in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three as I watched him feel up Morrow. Hey, the man has range!
More slapstick comes from the hotel security guy. He also gets left in these asinine predicaments. He’s the unfortunate victim of getting his clothes ripped apart, getting slapped through a series of misunderstandings and falling into that pool. And Goodman does the thing of ‘oh my goodness an old lady is doing or saying that!’-type of nonsense. I guess some might get a chuckle of seeing her get high on quaaludes and hitting the hotel barber with a riding crop. Someone must of thought that scene was funny.
There’s Andrew Clay (he wasn’t using his Dice name at the time). His scene really started to annoy me honestly. His big thing is to have sex with this girl while away from his girlfriend, so through a series of circumstances the guys offer him their hotel room to use. The rub is that Depp was getting ready to have sex with Clay’s gal played by the star of H.O.T.S. Lisa London.
For comedy sakes Clay keeps coming out of the bedroom to complicate the guys attempts to sneak London out. So he comes out for cigarettes, then for a drink, then for rubbers. The logic part of my head started yelling – ‘Are you here to screw this chick or interview her???’
I know I shouldn’t have used any of my logic tool during this movie. It prevented me from getting into the spirit of some of it. Shame on me!
The story and comedy is not exactly stellar, so let’s get to the boobs.
The big name actress attached to Private Resort is Leslie Easterbrook. Thanks to her buxom figure, being in the tail end seasons of Laverne and Shriley and her memorable role as Sgt. Callahan in the Police Academy flicks she’s gained a decent-sized fanbase.
Those devoted followers are probably well aware of Easterbrook’s nude appearance in this. It’s not exactly a full blown skin show. It’s her wearing a sheer negligee, but you’re able to enjoy her ample form better than in any other movie she appeared in. You certainly get an eyeful.
I read when filming Easterbrook wasn’t aware that the negligee would reveal that much. I don’t quite understand that. There’s closeups of Depp laying right under her boobs while she’s laying in bed wearing that negligee, so him staring at her naked boobs seems to be the joke. I don’t see how anyone didn’t see that it was so sheer while they filmed, but in any event she wore it and fans of hers should feel lucky.
She doesn’t get much screen time as the Maestro’s wife Bobbie Sue, but she’s certainly fetching when she shows up. She’s the attractive older woman in this. She’s almost like a precursor to Jennifer Coolidge as Stifler’s Mom in the American Pie movies.
As is required there are the string of young actresses, models and extras who parade around in their bikini’s, aerobic outfits and to drop their clothes to show some skin. Some are even lucky enough to be given lines!
|The memorable Vickie Benson – where is she now?|
Out of all the ladies in Private Resort the one that always stood out to me was Vickie Benson. Billed as ‘Bikini Girl’, she has three brief scenes each consisting of run-ins with that security guy. And in all her scenes she’s there as sexy eye candy showing off her bodacious bod!
They’re not exactly side-splitting scenes. I mean, the final punchline of each is the security guy getting slapped. However, she has always stuck in my head because I was always impressed by her commitment to portraying the role of ‘Bikini Girl’ and making her a fully realized character.
Ok, you got me! It’s because how gorgeous and sexy she looks!
It’s one of those little T&A standout scenes from a sex comedy. Benson kind of has a Lea Thompson/Howard the Duck-look to her with her rocking 80’s hairdo. She has that same cute kind of face that Lea did. I always thought that Depp and Morrow should have tried to go after ‘Bikini Girl’ rather than their leading ladies, but maybe they missed her while they were running around this resort.
Apparently Benson’s acting career never took off. According to her IMDB page she did continue acting after Private Resort. She played ‘Party Girl’ in My Chauffeur, ‘Waitress’ in The Wraith and ‘Salesgirl’ in Mortuary Academy (I never even heard of that movie!). Her last credited acting role is from 1990 in Fertilize the Blaspheming Bombshell. I have no idea about that one either. It sounds….interesting.
I couldn’t find any other information about her other than her brief IMDB page. My guess is at some point she left acting altogether and went on with her life away from the cameras. I’m curious as to whatever became of her.
That’s the funny thing about these teen/sex/comedies – these movies were pored over by a whole generation of kids on cable, they watched them constantly to get titillated, their temperatures would skyrocket from an actress who worked one or two days, maybe even only a few hours on the movie, kids wouldn’t even know her name, but she’d leave a lasting impression on them and then that actress would disappear completely. The only thing you knew about her was that she was a stunning figure, was the highlight of a lousy movie and you waited for her scene to arrive.
Maybe those women would rather forget about their early movie experiences and are just creeped out by the idea that there are still those out there who remember them and can re-watch their brief, unclothed performances. It could be like Depp and Morrow they wished they could destroy all the evidence of their movie. I wonder if these former actresses and models from 1980’s teen/sex/comedies who did those nude scenes have some kind of club or group. An oasis they can go to where they all help each other and provide support to work through their cinematic indiscretions that their haunted by.
In the end other than the most basic, shallow appeal Private Resort is not a very good movie. It’s a really clumsy, frivolous flick. This was an ideal skin flick back in ’85, but today there’s not much in it to hold your interest.
I will say some of the shots of the resort do look nice. You do have the whimsical appeal of Depp and Morrow as young actors in a T&A movie, Easterbrook’s chest looks fine and it does contain the most memorable screen appearance in the brief acting career of Vickie Benson, but don’t watch this expecting much more than that.
One final thought on Private Resort (I can’t believe I had this much to say about it already!) and it’s in regard to the original movie poster. It’s a nice little design, the girls all laying on their stomachs with the title of the movie on their backs. They knew exactly how to sell this to its target audience. Right away you know what this movie is going to be about.
But the two guys laying there aren’t Depp and Morrow. I understand they weren’t big names at the time, but it always seemed like a bit of cheat that they used male models or whoever these guys are on the movie poster instead of the actual stars. This oversight was corrected when the movie hit DVD and the cover was redesigned to prominently feature Depp’s young unmistakable mug.
I bet he just loved that.