We follow Burt Young from Rocky Balboa to Back to School, the 1986 Rodney Dangerfield comedy that serves as a bridge between the Rocky films and our next series. Back to School is a personal favorite, highly quotable among friends film that seems to e unfairly ignored when it comes to naming the best comedies f the 80’s.
The film follows Thornton Mellon, a true rags to riches success story. Mellon wet from an uneducated sideshow act to a wealthy manufacturer of plus size clothes. Mellon dumps his cheating trophy wife (Adrienne Barbeau) and heads off to rekindle the relationship with his son, Jason. (Keith Gordon) Mellon discovers his son discouraged about college, so he decides to get his degree, too, in solidarity with him.
Mellon realizes almost too late he cannot buy an education or relationships as his hilarious goofing around causes animosity with an arrogant economics professor, (Robert Whitehead) nearly destroys a budding romance with an English professor, (Sally Kellerman) and alienates Jason y paying others to do his work and gets him on the diving team by doing his old sideshow act. Nevertheless, Mellon overcomes t all, even the mistake of hiring Kurt Vonnegut to write an essay on Breakfast of Champions, to come out on top.
Mellon plays the aging, oversexed party dude to the hilt among an intereting menagerie of characters played by Burt Young, Robert Downey, Jr, and Sam Knison, among others. Terry Farrell hs a brief turn as Jason’s love interest. Sadly enough, heractig chops were improved by thetime she appeared on Deep Space Nine.
Back to School is a funny, frivolous film, but well worth your time.
Rating: *** (out of 5)