- Written and Directed by Ken Blancato
- August 1986
Students at a stewardess school have crazy adventures and must help a struggling airline and pass their final test.
Hollywood doesn’t make raunchy comedies at the level they once did. In fact, I don’t think they make raunchy comedies at all. Aside from The Hangover Trilogy (which was mild compared to anything from the 80s) can anyone name the last genuinely raunchy comedy that got released in the theaters? I kind of miss them. They were lowbrow and generally entertaining. The characters were shallow stereotypes. More often than not the people making them were completely unafraid to mock anything. There were no sacred cows. And for a teenage boy, they had the allure of boobs galore even when completely unnecessary to tell the jokes or the story.
So in the spirit of experiencing a little bit of nostalgia and trying to understand why anyone would care about this I decided to check out Stewardess School. I’m not sure where it first entered my consciousness-be it late night cable or it’s reported numerous runs on Comedy Central, but I never checked it out until now.
And I am left wondering why anybody cares about this movie. It’s not a guilty pleasure, nor just so dumb that it is entertaining even if you don’t laugh. But when your two biggest talents are Sandahl Bergman and Donnie (here called ‘Donald’) Most you might be in more than a little bit of trouble. Stewardess School engages in all the clichés that one would expect from a comedy of the era. The jokes are broad. And it has gratuitous nudity as one would expect.
Set at a stewardess school (it’s in the title if you didn’t know that) this is essentially a slobs versus snobs comedy with the slobs being the students and the snobs being the school staff. Specifically two staff members-Miss Grummet (Vicki Frederick) and Captain Biff (Rod McCary)-who in classic 80s fashion are revealed to have their own weirdnesses about them.
Miss Grummet for her part is to prep these people to graduate but since she feels these misfits do fit stewardesses as she sees them, she works to undermine them. When your job is to graduate people taking a dislike to them to them and attempting to undermine their attempts at graduation may not be the best way to go as it means you might be unemployed soon.
Philo Henderson (Brett Cullen) is the movie’s hot guy who has extremely bad vision and starts dating accident prone Kelly Johnson (Mary Cadorette). George Bunkle (Don Most) is Philo’s best friend that continually screws him over and is a womanizer. George to me is very Ralph Malph in execution. Sugar Dubois (the stunning Judy Landers) is a former stripper and prostitute going straight. Sandahl Bergman as Wanda Polanski is a former wrestler taking a job in order to get her boyfriend to propose. Wendie Jo Sperber is frumpy Jolean Winters. Julia Montgomery is hyper perky Pimmie Polk. Corinne Bohrer is rich punk girl Cindy Adams who is sent to school as part of her parent’s plan to get her away from her biker boyfriend Snake (Dennis Burkley). Rob Paulsen is a caricature of homosexuality as Larry Falkwell. The thing is they do not get TOO over the top or silly. Compared to Police Academy or Airplane! the characters and most events are a bit subdued.
It’s just a bunch of bad jokes and ridiculously impossible situations that lack the entertainment value of Revenge of the Nerds. Yet this film does its best to ape the tone of the aforementioned films. All were juvenile and inappropriate yet at the minimum you would chuckle. Unfortunately Stewardess School doesn’t quite get there.
The story culminates in one final flight to approve all the stewardesses before they can go off out into the world of stewarding and steward away. They are tested on the low rent Stromboli Airlines (was that supposed to be funny?) who if this doesn’t go well will fold. That’s fine and dandy and all but I’m not sure why we should care. This is a raunchy comedy and while we don’t need to be deeply emotionally invested in anything what happens has to at least matter to us. This bit gets introduced so quickly there is to build up to it.
Anyway, the final flight is as bad as you would expect. We have a blind man (Sherman Hemsley) who beats everybody with a cane by accident. We have a tweaker (Alan Rosenberg) who has a bomb that somehow made it completely pass security in his carry-on luggage. And we have a guy that gets drugged by the bomber as a distraction. Needless to say, this provides the iron maiden of the movie plenty of fuel to try to sink the slobs. And in one of the more entertaining jokes of the film after the bomb goes off and blows a small hole in the side of the plane Jolean’s butt plugs the hole. You won’t laugh out loud but it’s dumb enough to be funny to be to generate a smile.
Considering everything that happens, you’re probably wondering how they make it through and become stewardesses. Well, that guy on the plane that was drugged turns out to be the FAA inspector that they had to be worried about. Anyway, in order to calm him down, Sugar Dubois gave him a blow job while he was restrained. If you didn’t see that twist coming after watching this movie I don’t know what to tell you.
Is this great? Not really. Is it mildly okay? Mostly. It’s the kind of comedy they don’t make any more even if this one isn’t well done. It certainly has that potential and it’s a movie that could benefit from a remake. All the elements are there in the script. It certainly has all the right elements to be inappropriately entertaining but they just don’t quite get to that. Either it’s the performers or the execution of a particular scene but it generally falls flat.
Stewardess School is, well, I don’t know what it is. It’s certainly an example of a bygone era. Unfortunately it’s a poorly done example of it. Check out this in its unedited form if you only ever caught it on Comedy Central but otherwise don’t bother.