Back to School Review

Back to School
When self-made millionaire Thornton Melon discovers that his mixed-up son Jason wants to drop out of college, he convinces the kid to stay on by enrolling himself as a freshman and promising to catch up on the education he never had.

by Kim Newman |
Published on
Release Date:

27 Apr 1986

Running Time:

96 minutes



Original Title:

Back to School

As vehicles for fat comedians who were big in the States but never exported well go, this self-proclaimed slob comedy is nearly a masterpiece and certainly much better than the comparable Revenge of the Nerds films.  Dangerfield was an old pro who could wring chuckles out of the most ancient double entendres, but when given inspired schtick he could put himself up with Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy and the multi-authored script is crammed with relishable one-liners and bits of character business.

Dangerfield, for instance, describes his high school football team with ‘they were so tough that when they sacked the quarterback, they went after his family’ and manages the all-time great chat-up line when asking a coed for help with his poetry studies by asking ‘can you help me straighten out my Longfellow?’

Unlike many other star comedians, Dangerfield – who wrote the storyline -- isn’t afraid to let anyone else be funny in his vehicles, so watch out for Burt Young as the ultimate thug bodyguard (‘in his family, he’s only the second generation to walk upright’), Sam Kinison as a Vietnam veteran history lecturer (‘while you were all in grade school, I was up to my waist in a rice paddy’), Robert Downey Jr as a rebellious punk (‘it’s all in this book, Proletarian Chicks in Bondage by Karl Marx’), Adrienne Barbeau as the ultimate slutty bitch ex (‘your wife was just showing us her Klimt’/’oh, she does that to everybody’) and Kurt Vonnegut Jr as himself.  Later the inspiration for an outstanding Simpsons episode, and remade with Cedric the Entertainer.

This Rodney Dangerfield vehicle is alot better than it should be
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