Booby Prize: Bikini Beach Race (1992)

Dave hits up the producer of this frustratingly flat comedy to discover just what went wrong.

“Bikini Beach Race was the most disorganized mess I had ever seen,” recalls executive producer Jozef Lenders, who came on board for the film’s post-production (and contributed half of its sixty thousand dollar budget). “It’s essentially a student film, with [writer and star] Xavier using actors and crew from the University of Miami film school – with the exception of [director] Eric, Dana [Plato] and Ron [Jeremy] of course.”

And to be blunt, it looks it. 

Forced comedy, abject performances, and the exaggerated ogling of barely-clad girls, BIKINI BEACH RACE is an absolute chore to get through — not to mention the jarring inserts of footage shot after the picture wrapped. “This is when I was contacted,” admits Lenders. “I was around for the pick-ups and the beauty shots, and then it was simply the case of making sense of the jumbled chaos.”

The storyline (and I use that term loosely) is a heavy-handed riff on Revenge of the Nerds (1984) with a side order of Porky’s (1981), as four horny students – Milo (Xavier Barquet), Jaime (Nick Santa Maria), Byrdie (Waverly Hill), and Cheese (Mathew Marko – “My name’s Cheese. Wanna slice?”) — enter a college bed race to face off against the scheming corruption of their peers. Alas, they have a special weapon: a hydroplane speedboat pilot by the name of J.D (Plato), who’s dexterous skills may well give them the edge over their odious competitors.

The race itself is confined to the last fifteen minutes, with the previous ninety being padded out with the kind of hijinks that will leave even the most forgiving viewer stony-faced. It’s a shame, none more so for writer and co-star Barquet: a creative soul, bursting with ambition, whose life ended tragically early at the age of forty-six when he died of respiratory failure.

“He was a happy, loving, fun guy,” recalls Lenders. “He stayed in a local motel for months while editing the picture, and there were so many gorgeous girls coming and going all the time! But that’s the kind of guy he was; he had a magnetic personality.”

Even after the frenzied work in post-production, though, Lenders was swift to discover the dwindling appeal of his new found investment:

“We pitched it to the kind of market who liked Animal House (1979). It received some distribution, and we also managed to sell it to the cable TV show, Up All Night. Dana Plato, of course, was fresh off probation for holding up a video store. She was in hock to Wayne Newton [who sprung for her bail] and we paid her $6,000. We thought her involvement would spur interest, but, in the end, nobody cared.”

USA ● 1992 ● Comedy ● 105mins

Dana Plato, Xavier Barquet, Ron Jeremy ● Dir. Eric Louzil Wri. Xavier Barquet

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