THIS 'BEACH' FLICK DESERVES TO BE BURIED
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Wednesday, March 9, 1983
The ad shows two bikini-ed women on a tropical beach pouring beer down the trunks of a grinning young man who happens to be standing on his head.
Your conclusion, Holmes?
Obviously what we are dealing with, Watson, is an insidious specimen of the soft-porn, youth-exploitation beach flick.
Wrong, Annette Funicello breath.
Spring Fever, despite what its ad may lead you to believe, is not a beach flick. It is an inept, two-year-old Rocky rip-off set in the scintillating world of preteen tennis tournaments. Somebody apparently pulled its script off a well-deserved back shelf, blew off the dust and decided another buck could be made by trying to pass it off as a springtime beach movie.
What was assembled was an unimpressive cast of TV has-beens, with the mixture spiced with dashes of jiggle-sitcom humor. It's the kind of story that thinks 12-year-olds casually dropping an obscenity are a laugh riot.
It's all about a 13-year-old named K. C., the junior female tennis champion of Las Vegas. Her mother (Susan Anton) is a showgirl, low in social status but high in parental devotion.
K. C. and Mom travel to a small condo community outside Sarasota, Fla., for the national under-13 championships. The snobs and rich creeps treat them shamefully, clucking their tongues whenever Mom bounces by; except for the number-one seed, a rich kid named Melissa, who wants to be a ballerina but who is being thwarted by her parents.
Melissa and K. C. become friends. They run slow-motion down the beach. Music plays. The sun sets, a blazing orange ball silhouetting our two young friends as they hold hands. More music.
Mom meets a reporter from the Sarasota paper (Frank Converse, of all people), and they have a brief fling that scandalizes the snobs. Melissa's nasty Mom (Jessica Walter, how could you?) accuses K. C. of stealing. Melissa is wrongly busted for cocaine possession. A nasty little girl named Bunny calls K. C. all sorts of bad names and even welshes on a bet.
And all the while you just sit there waiting for them to put on their bikinis and go to the beach. They never do.
Produced by John Bassett, directed by Joseph L. Scanlan, written by Stuart Gillard, photography by Don Wilder, music by Fred Mollin, and distributed by Amulet Pictures; running time, 1 hour, 40 mins.
K. C. - Carling Bassett
Louis - Frank Converse
Mrs. Berryman - Jessica Walter
Melissa - Shawn Foltz
Parents' guide: PG