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Board Heads (November 10/03)

After appearing in films like Scent of a Woman and Body Snatchers, Gabrielle Anwar is the last person you'd expect to see in a juvenile flick like Board Heads. She looks vaguely uncomfortable playing a beach bimbo, and indeed, her attempts to smarten up the character are obvious. But her presence goes a long way in elevating the film to something more than just a dumb comedy.

There isn't much of a storyline, but that's to be expected from a movie of this sort. Two bonehead surfing buddies (played by Alex Deboe and Douglas Spain) spend their days chilling out on the beach and picking up chicks, with nary a care in the world. After a grumpy landlord (Loretta Swit) evicts the duo from their house, they decide to cheer themselves up by having a big party - and soon after, decide to hold the first annual Bikini Olympics with the help of a couple of rich tourists. Said tourists are being swindled by a smarmy publicist (Bronson Pinchot) who's looking to cash in on the lucrative event. But if surf movies have taught us anything, it's that good vibes always emerge victorious over evildoers.

There's no denying that Board Heads is an incredibly silly movie, but the laid back energy of the film is admittedly infectious. It's hard to really hate a film in which virtually every character's sole goal is to have a good time, and Balki himself is playing the villain (and a likeable villain at that). Writer/director John Quinn clearly isn't trying to re-invent the wheel here - this is essentially a Bill and Ted flick set at the beach - and imbues the movie with a palpable sense of fun and escapism.

But as easy-going as the film is, the whole thing eventually becomes overwhelmingly innocuous; there's only so much of these characters' wacky hijinks a guy can take. Their efforts to hook up with a variety of beautiful beach girls will no doubt enthrall adolescents, but unless this is the sort of lifestyle you can identify with, the 90 minute runtime will likely begin to feel like an ordeal.

out of

About the DVD: Board Heads is presented with a pristine letterboxed transfer by MGM, while extras are limited to a trailer for the feature - along with trailers for The Safety of Objects, It Runs in the Family, City of Ghosts, Legally Blonde 2, and the special edition DVDs of Fargo and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.