Tomboy (1985) – A Review


A tomboy has her eyes more than just working on cars as she falls for a race car driver. She sets out to prove tomboys can be sexy too! It’s the 1985 teen/sex/comedy Tomboy starring Betsy Russell


Tomboy 1985 movie poster“What would you say to a little fuck?”

“Me? I’d say ‘Good night little fuck’.”

Tomasina ‘Tommy’ Boyd (Besty Russell) is a tomboy. She can box, play basketball and is the best car mechanic in town. There’s nothing ‘girly’ about Tommy – well besides her being built like one of the hottest girls a guy could ever hope to see that is.

Then one day her tomboy way of life gets thrown for a loop when she starts to have girly feelings for racecar hotshot Randy Starr (Gerard Christopher). She’s has butterflies for him, but also is not afraid to prove that she’s just as capable with cars as he is. Forget his male ego!

Randy can’t take her too seriously because she’s a tomboy. Girls aren’t supposed to do all the stuff she does! Where on earth is the nail polish? The lipstick? The high heels??? Girls aren’t supposed to build car engines for goodness sake!

So it will be up to Tommy to prove to him gals can race cars, fix engines, still look smoking hot and that being a tomboy is ok!

Did I mention she’s a tomboy?

Tomboy 1985 Betsy Russel mechanic publicity photo
Betsy Russell in Tomboy

Oh my, my, my. I’m putting out an APB for the recovery of the plot for this movie right now! Did they forget to install that into this flick?

Oh yeah, sure there’s that’s general plot of Tommy proving herself to her new narrowminded man, but the movie doesn’t do enough with that to sustain it’s ninety minutes. That story is more like ten minutes. Let me break it down for you:

Tommy the tomboy meets Randy. They hook up. Randy says some insulting remark to her that girls can’t race cars. Tommy challenges him to a race. Tommy wins and Randy eats crow. Smile, freeze frame, the end.

That’s pretty much it. And that’s about the last thirty minutes of the movie. So what does the rest of the runtime of this movie consist of? Dull cardboard characters that appear then disappear. They are completely forgotten until they uselessly reappear again later. Some of them have subplots that meander and drag out to half-ass and boring conclusions. Scenes of Tommy showing off how much of a tomboy she is. And 80’s music montages. OH BOY DOES THIS MOVIE HAVE MONTAGES!

I counted eight,

Tomboy 1985 Betsy Russell bathing suit
The happy dating montage

So let’s see, we get an extended aerobic dance audition montage with Tommy’s friend Seville (Kristi Somers). Holy crap is it cheesy! A motorcycle chase of Tommy trying to ditch two sleazy guys. In the end the guys car gets wrecked – shocking I know. Tommy taking one of the sleazy guys for a wild test drive in his car that she fixed up (you know giving him his comeuppance – he’s screaming, getting sick, holding onto the dashboard and crap),

Tommy and Randy do some motorcycle off-roading (some ‘totally awesome’ slo-mo as they do two-feet jumps in the air and ride through a shallow riverbank), the slow/sensual montage of Tommy and Randy ‘doing it’ segwaying into their ‘relationship montage’ (you know, sliding down a waterslide together, running in the park, throwing coins in a fountain, playing mini-golf – cause it was not a serious relationship in the 1980’s unless you played mini-golf together.

Tommy and older mechanic boss Chester (Richard Erdman) working on her racing engine for the big race (they create some hi-tech, computer propulsion system or some nonsense) and then of course the big race between Tommy and Randy.

Tomboy 1985 teen sex comedy movie montage
The fixing the car montage

Oh and I suppose we might want to count the opening credit scene where we watch Tommy waking up for the day, taking a shower, getting dressed, riding her motorcycle to work, stopping to shoot some hoops and arriving at work. Of course this is where we hear the theme song entitled ‘Tomboy’ performed by Souvenir, which also closes the movie on the end credits.

I imagine these music montages were specifically designed to promote the soundtrack and get kids to go out and buy it. These montages look so awkward watching them today. They truly are from a different era of movie-going.

It’s like when you see these youtube tribute videos fans make of a movie. They use its theme song and they edit a series of clips from the movie to it. That’s what these things look like!

We would never see these kind of montages in movies today. We might see a short montage of the Avengers all suiting up and getting ready for battle, but the movie wouldn’t slow down long enough for an entire three-minute song to play while they’re putting on their gear! And we certainly would never, ever see eight separate montages like that in one movie for goodnes sake!

Betsy Russell Tomboy 1985 teen comedyAside from the montages the movie itself is pretty terrible. Nothing happens and nothing happens in the most boring ways. When I’m sitting down to watch these kind of movies I’m not expecting to be blown away by the storys of teen/sex/comedies, but it’d be nice to have at least a broad, terribly thought out, half-ass story they’re trying to tell.

You know, something where everyone has a vague idea of why they have the cameras out filming these actors and why we’re going to watch it. This one was a real chore to sit through folks.

The biggest thing that I was actually engaged by was while watching this I kept thinking ‘I know that actor who plays Chester. I know I’ve seen him before’. After giving up trying to remember I finally took the easy way out and looked him up on IMDB. Richard Erdman, who was in Stalag 17! That’s it! What a great movie that is! So this is what he was doing in the 1980s. Well, it was work at least.

Fans of Betsy Russell might be interested in watching Tomboy just for her. But honestly, it’s not worth it. Sure she loses her shirt revealing her boobs – along with the required anonymous actresses being topless in showers and pools – but it’s such a slog to get to those brief entrancing ‘breast-shot’ moments that I was so browbeaten from the rest of this insipid flick I couldn’t even enjoy those. Russell fans are better off watching Private School to admire her form.

Besty Russell Tomboy 1985 teen sex comedy
Betsy ready to race

I prefer seeing her as Jordan in Private School. I’m not much of a fan of her dark permed hair in this, but opinions might vary.

Oh some might find it interesting that Tommy’s object of affection Randy Starr is played by Gerard Christopher who would later go on to play Superboy in the 1988 television series. That’s just a random bit of trivia and in no way am I trying to use it as a selling point to actually watch this flick. He’s about as charismatic in this as drywall.

The movie has two 1980’s teen sex comedy staple characters – the rich bratty kid and the geeky friend. What a washout both are. Tommy doesn’t really have any real run-ins with the rich snob guy and the geeky pal just sort of shows up randomly in some scenes.

Tomboy 1985 doughnut commercial
A strange doughnut commercial

At first I thought he was just a one-shot customer at the garage, but later we learn apparently Tommy knows him. He tries to be flirty with Tommy at a bar, gets his crotch sniffed by a dog and then is picked up on the highway by a hot chick in a car and disappears. And he was supposed to be providing the dorky comedy relief? Holy mackerel! The music montages were funnier.

Tommy’s shallow best friend auditions for a doughnut commercial and based on her risque audition gets in good with rich older guys. It’s so friggin’ bizarre. The geeky guy is there stuffing his face with powdered doughnuts, the owner of the doughnut company and commercial producer are laughing and this girl is seductively saying “Eat it” to the camera. What the hell is going on??? I thought this movie was about a tomboy!!!

There’s no point in going on with this. The movie is awful.




Here’s a montage – as if there isn’t enough from this movie – with the theme song ‘Tomboy’ by Souvenir

4 thoughts on “Tomboy (1985) – A Review

  1. Tomasina has a nice rack, she only teases us in the movie Private School but not here, bless her!

  2. Betsy’s boobs may be real or they be implants. The actor playing Randy was lucky to be doing it with her in that one scene!

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