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SUMMER LOVERS

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, May 24, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: Another odd choice for Kino Lorber’s regular Blu-ray upgrades is this so-called ‘art film’ that starred three up-and-comers, including a pre-‘Splash’ Daryl Hannah. Not my cup of tea but it must have an audience out there. My review was published in the Deseret News on Aug. 30, 1982.

Back in the ’60s, when Russ Meyer used a thin plot as an excuse to show naked women on the screen, the movies were called “nudies” — the equivalent of today’s X-rated soft-core porn.

But in this enlightened age a bit of titillating nudity is thrown into so many films that soft-core pictures pale in comparison.

But today, films are technically redefined, glossed up in terms of production values and location photography, and directors like Randal Kleiser pass them off as works of art.

     

Daryl Hannah, left, Valerie Quennessen Peter Gallagher, 'Summer Lovers'

But “Summer Lovers” isn’t art. It’s just a bigger-budget peep show, with very little plot, weak dialogue and even weaker delivery on the part of the cast, which seems to have been hired on the basis of how well it looks undraped, instead of acting ability.

If anyone doesn’t believe that a film full of nudity can be a total bore, “Summer Lovers” is here to prove it. You’ll be lucky to stay awake half way through.

Kleiser is the Hollywood whiz kid director who came up with the biggest moneymaking musical of all time, “Grease,” and that Brooke Shields blockbuster of two summers ago, “The Blue Lagoon.” This time around, he has also written the screenplay.

The story, such as it is, has Peter Gallagher (“The Idolmaker”) and Daryl Hannah (“Blade Runner”) as a couple landing in Greece for an eight-week summer vacation. Though Gallagher has been faithful to Hannah for five years, his eye wanders when he spots a local lady, Valerie Quennessen (“Conan the Barbarian”).

It’s not that Quennessen is all that attractive or charismatic, but Gallagher and Hannah are themselves so bland that Don Knotts would seem spicy in comparison.

    

Anyway, before you know it, the three of them are bunking together, the two women having decided that there’s more than enough of Gallagher for the both of them.

“Summer Lovers” has a tour guide look about it, and nice use is made of some of the Greek locations used for shooting, but too often the camera glides over them with loud rock music in accompaniment so that after a while it begins to look like one of those old between-features travelogues with an ’80s beat. It also shows that for some reason, no one in Greece owns a bathing suit.

What this film really is, however, is a shameless piece of self-indulgence on the part of writer-director Kleiser.

All the time Kleiser is telling us how hip this all is in its ’80s-style “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” mode, he’s boring us beyond belief. If being hip and modern means being dull-witted, insensitive and bland, give me Doris Day anytime.

Rated R for nudity, some sex and a few profanities, “Summer Lovers” is worse than offensive — it’s a fraud. And it’s also one of the least entertaining films I’ve seen in some time.