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PSYCHO BEACH PARTY(R)
Strand Releasing
Official Site


Director: Robert Lee King

Producers: Virginia Biddle, Jon Gerrans, Marcus Hu, Victor Syrmis

Written by: Charles Busch

Cast: Lauren Ambrose, Nicholas Brendon, Thomas Gibson, Danni Wheeler, Kimberley Davies

Rating: ----

Ever wonder what would happen if Ralph Malph, Potsy, the Fonz and Richie Cunningham were put in the SCREAM movies? Well, throw in some razor-sharp dialogue and enough campiness to fill up a RuPaul-does-THE SOUND OF MUSIC movie event, and you might come close to the wonderfully sardonic PSYCHO BEACH PARTY.

The movie revolves around Florence, a young girl with more personalities than Roseanne on acid, played adeptly by Lauren Ambrose. Florence, and her best friend Berdine (Wheeler) go to the beach in hopes of enjoying a "fantabulous" teen summer, but plans are slightly cramped when their friends are popped off one by one by a mysterious killer. Immersing herself in the beach culture, Florence becomes friendly with the surfer dudes, led by the great Kanaka (Gibson), a man whose only crime is that he talks in rhyme. Knighted Chicklet by her new pals, the once totally unbodacious Florence enjoys life with the popular guys, and takes a shine to the totally dreamy Starcat (Brendon). The gang becomes friends with movie diva Bettina (Davies), whose high-pitched voice is enough to send dogs in a five-mile radius into a frenzy, and together they try to get to the bottom of who is conducting this murderous rampage.

PSYCHO BEACH PARTY takes cheesiness to a level that even the cows at the Kraft dairy would be proud of. The humor is laden with self-reflexivity and sarcasm, but none of it is as overt as what has been seen in the I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and SCREAM franchises. The acting is refreshing in its over-the-top nature, and never gets to a rolling-eyeball, "oh brother" level. Thomas Gibson and Nicolas Brendan make grand segues from the small screen to play the absurdly cool Psycho Beach Surfers. Every member of this ensemble cast adds another dimension to the comedy in the movie; even the minor characters add little quirks with their wry personalities.

It may not be the most original of plot lines, or even concepts, but what sets PSYCHO BEACH PARTY apart from other so-called teen spoofs is its underlying biting sarcasm, which gives more credit to the viewer than the in-your-face-we-are-being-funny "hereís the rules of the sequel" Kevin Anderson flicks. The characters are well written and the dialogue rarely feels forced. The campy nature of the movie also prevents that from being an issue. Youíll leave the theatre very entertained, and wondering whether the events aboard the Mystery Machine would have been more interesting if Scooby Doo had had a gang like this.

—Priti Ubhayanakar


HYBRID Ratings Guide:

- Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

- Itís worth a full-price ticket.

- Itís worth a matinee ticket.

- Wait for video rental.

- Check out the video from the library, if you must.

- While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...



Mike Doughty



none now
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