Synopsis: Welcome to Mesa University, where all the scoring does not take place on the field. Watch the pompons fly when Kate (Jo Johnston), a reporter for the campus underground newspaper, goes undercover to expose “female exploitation in contemporary society.” But she may be out of her league when she discovers there’s more to wanton pompons and blockhead jocks than meets the eye.
eyelights: its socio-political undercurrent.
eyesores: the starlets’ performances. its déjà-vu, cliché quality. its finale.
“Speaking of scoring…”
You can’t get enough sexy cheerleaders.
You just can’t.
After the surprising success of 1973’s ‘The Cheerleaders‘, it was inevitable to that not only would there be imitators, but also follow-ups of sorts.
Enter 1974’s ‘The Swinging Cheerleaders’.
Though it’s considered part of the series, it’s hard to see why: it’s written, directed, produced and distributed by a different bunch. It even stars different actors, features different characters, is set in a different location and has a very different plot.
In fact, I doesn’t even reference the original.
So what is the connection between the two? I can’t figure it out. The only possible answer lies in the casting of Rainbeaux Smith, who plays another cheerleader in the next film, ‘Revenge of the Cheerleaders’ – which is connected to the original by its writer-director.
So, from what I can gather, the first “sequel” is connected to the original because of the second “sequel”.
I know, I know: it’s a stretch.
The plot this time finds Kate writing a socio-political paper about cheerleading and joining the Mesa University squad to better investigate the goings on. There she catches wind of a plot to manipulate the football team’s tremendous on-field success for betting purposes.
With her new friends, she proceeds to stop the baddies and save the big game.
Yeah, it’s pretty thin. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a T&A film of its ilk. Except that ‘The Swinging Cheerleaders’ is a light T&A flick: though it has the requisite cheesy hook-ups, it’s not even softcore, like its nutty predecessor – it mostly keeps it off-screen.
That would be fine if the screenplay and performances were at all noteworthy, but they’re not: for all its socio-political undertones, the script remains superficial and the key cast can barely deliver a line – though they’re admittedly better than in the first film.
It doesn’t even have the luxury of falling back on cheap laughs, because it’s neither especially comedic nor incompetent enough to be inadvertently funny. The best it could muster was a incongruent slapstick rescue of the star quarterback to ragtime piano music.
The whole ending is a mess: the ill-conceived and executed slapstick, which pits half of the football team against just two security guards, the inaudible dialogues, and the off-screen big game which is filled in by a sports commentator are a series of amateurish misteps.
Of course, what could one expect from a movie called ‘The Swinging Cheerleaders’? Certainly not Fellini or Kubrick-esque finesse. If only it was goofy fun, then one might be able to overlook its flaws and inconsistencies. But it’s a bit drab, barely perked up by some skin.
It’s technically a better film that its predecessor, but I’d much rather watch ‘The Cheerleaders’; at least that was romp. By trying too hard to make a real movie, writer-director Jack Hill forgot the whole point of making a cheerleaders movie: young, dumb and full of fun.
But it won’t stop the cheerleaders from getting their revenge.
Date of viewing: February 18, 2017