The second film in my year of watching Johnny Depp films is the 1985 comedy Private Resort that features Johnny and Rob Morrow as two horn dog teenagers (early 20s?) that spend a weekend at posh resort trying to nail anything that moves. (Wow, I think I just slipped into 1980s speak there for a minute, does anyone actually use the phrases horn dog and nail anymore?) The plot, what little there is of it, is further complicated by the Maestro, a would-be jewel thief played by Hector Elizondo, and his wife Bobbie Sue (Leslie Easterbrook) who are at the resort to steal a diamond from wealthy grandmother.
The opening scene of Jack (Johnny Depp) and Ben (Rob Morrow) arriving at the resort and sizing up the pool-side bikini clad guests leaves you feeling like you walked into the movie late. There’s no context to their relationship or what they are doing at the resort other than trying to get laid and I suppose that’s the point. No mention is made of whether they are rich kids out for a lark or middle class kids crashing the place. At least the director and writer make it clear up front that this is the level of plot and character development that you can expect for the rest of the movie.
Its hard to believe that there was a time before internet porn where the promise of a flash of a bit of skin and sexual innuendo was enough to get people, well teenage boys at least, to part with their cash. As far as 1980s sex comedies go Private Resort (1985) is close to scrapping the bottom of the barrel. I’d have to argue that Revenge of the Nerds (1984), Porky’s (1982), Zapped (1982), and perhaps even Spring Break (1983) are much better examples of the T&A genre from that period.
To the film’s credit the nudity is equal opportunity with both Rob Morrow and Johnny Depp dropping trouser and flashing their pasty white backsides in the name of their art.
The situational and physical comedy in this film is so ridiculous its as if the writer or director were trying to shoehorn their childhood memories of Marx Brothers films or maybe Three Stooges short into a modern comedy. It all falls so amazingly flat that it was painful to watch. I was so desperate to laugh or smile at least one joke or gag, but it never came. The closest scene to prying a smile from my frowning lips was during an absurd fight between the House Detective, Reeves played by stage actor Tony Azito, and the hotel Barber played by the German-accented Ron House. The scene was like some tired skit that you might find on Saturday Night Live, but at least the two actors were committed to the scene and their characters.
Andrew “Dice” Clay also pops up in the film as Curt, a meathead womanizer, that crosses paths with Johnny and Rob in what is meant to be a farcical scene, but just had me cringing. Mainly at the display of Clay’s back hair and how high up he has his boxers hiked. You can thank me later for sparing you a screen capture of that scene!
Johnny and Rob carry the movie as best they can given the material and have decent chemistry on the screen as friends. While some of Depp’s charm with the ladies comes through, it feels awkward when he’s hitting on the older women in the movie like Bobbie Sue.
The movie predictably ends with the jewel thief foiled and the boys finding true love. Aww.
I have to admit that Private Resort had me seriously reconsidering my decision to watch all 43 of Johnny Depp’s films this year. In the end it wasn’t Depp’s acting or screen charisma that got me through the flick, but rather a boy-ish looking Rob Morrow and his 100 Watt smile. Its a bit goofy, but also charming in a way this film wasn’t.
Up next on the list is Oliver Stone’s mainstream breakout film Platoon in which Johnny plays Pvt. Gator Lerner to Charlie Sheen’s Chris Taylor.