Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sweater Girls (1978)

Teen lust permeated the whole ’50s-nostaligia craze, but perhaps because the family-friendly TV show Happy Days (1974–1984) became the dominant image of this particular ’70s fad, there’s a tendency to think of ’50s throwbacks as wholesome. Projects like Sweater Girls put lie to that. A tacky sex comedy with interchangeable characters, repetitive episodes, and sleazy vignettes of girls removing their tight sweaters so they can chitty-chat while wearing only bras, Sweater Girls is all about the way hormones drive adolescents wild. Whereas better ’50s throwbacks place youthful longing into a larger sociocultural context, Sweater Girls is single-minded to a fault. That’s a shame, because the premise reflected in the movie’s title should have been the launching pad for naughty fun. After one too many episodes of boyfriends getting handsy at the drive-in or the malt shop, several high-school girls form a club called “The Sweater Girls,” vowing to protect their chastity. The good version of this premise might have taken a satirical path, depicting an experiment with feminism years before the concept went national. Instead, Sweater Girls creates one heavy-petting scenario after another, snuffing any hope of expressing a resonant theme. In one bit, a girl gets her guy hot and bothered, then strands him naked in the woods by stealing his car. Even leaning into that direction—punishing the boys for taking their girlfriends’ sexual availability for granted—would have been something. Alas, Sweater Girls is as formless as it is pointless, especially when it gets mired in dopey gags about stupid cops and public urination.

Sweater Girls: LAME

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