US, 1985, 92 minutes, Colour.
Michael J. Fox, Nancy Mc Keown, Adam Baldwin, Robert Klein.
Directed by Larry Elikan.
Poison Ivy is a popular American telemovie - for an undemanding audience. It goes back over the ground of such films as Meatballs, Little Darlings - it is set in an American holiday camp.
The film is a star vehicle for television series star Michael J. Fox who made great impact as the lead in Back to the Future. His diminutive cheeky style has its engaging aspects. Here he is Dennis Baxter, a would-be ladies' man in charge of youngsters at a holiday camp, taking their side yet trying to help them develop, clashing with Ike (Adam Baldwin, My Bodyguard, D.C. Cab) and with Big Irv - a satirical performance by Robert Klein.
Needless to say, the staff divides itself into the stupid and bullying and those who are sympathetic to the youngsters. The youngsters, needless to say, are over-precocious. There is the usual range of youngster - the spoilt youngster who does not want to be at the camp, can't swim and runs away. He, of course, learns to swim, is accepted by the group and wins the championship. There is the fat boy who has a good heart. There is also the wheeler-dealer who sets himself up as an agent for example one youngster writing letters for all the boys (discovered by adoring parents who turn angry), and for sports champions to hold it over the authorities.
Nancy Mc Keown is attractive as Rhonda - a college student writing a thesis, engaged to a crass and self-centred medical student, who obviously will break her engagement.
There are the usual shenanigans amongst the boys, the mucking up of the competitions, farcical horseplay, and a great deal of knowing comedy.
American humour, raucous style - and its heart, ultimately, in the right place.