GORP (Joseph Ruben, 1980)
better known as trail mix, contains a little bit of everything to
provide an energy boost and maintain it. The raunchy camp comedy GORP,
the last film released by American International Pictures, features
almost all of the ingredients in Samuel Z. Arkoff’s formula but is empty
in cinematic nutritional value.
transplants ANIMAL HOUSE to a Jewish summer camp that seems incredibly
overstaffed, especially with penny-pinching Wallman (David Huddleston)
overseeing its operation. He’s hired enough college men as waiters to
the pre-teen campers that he could staff a major city hotel’s ballroom.
Perhaps that’s why he’s constantly seeking ways to reclaim their wages
guys have no responsibilities beyond hustling food to the kids at
designated mealtimes, so there’s plenty of trouble for them to find at
Camp Oskemo. The senior waiters, who have the advantage of having the
military-obsessed and heavily stockpiled Mad Grossman (Dennis Quaid) on
their side, plot full-scale battle against the junior waiters. They
gamble with the eccentric kitchen staff, occasionally wander into town
to hang out at a biker gang’s bar, and pull pranks on Wallman.
coeds, who serve as Counselors-in-Training, are the biggest
distractions of all. Kavell (Michael Lembeck) and Bergman (Philip
Casnoff) compete to be the first to get with the virtuous Vicki (Lisa
Shure). Not that it deters them, but she rejects their advances as
definitively as possible. They also mix it up with the sexually
adventurous Evie (Fran Drescher), who may be more than they can handle.
In one of her first movie appearances, Rosanna Arquette shows up as a
wealthy girl who angers her parents by falling for a Puerto Rican boy.
characters in GORP want to stick it to each other in a variety of ways,
if you catch my drift, but they reserve the most harmful jabs for
Huddleston as a proto-Big Lebowski. Whether it’s getting barnyard
animals to soil his bedroom or ruining Parents’ Weekend by putting speed
in the food and switching out the evening’s entertainment with a
black-and-white stag film, the youth never let The Man forget who’s
really running the show.
by Joseph Ruben, GORP is technically competent and energetically paced
and performed, which is a nice way of saying this is a bad movie whose
faults are ordinary. There’s no plot to speak of, just loosely
connected scenes of manic shenanigans. The characters never become
desirable audience surrogates. (In an attempt to win a bet with Evie,
who’s tasked to seduce the rabbi, Kavell and Bergman attempt to sedate
and rape the fat nurse, although the matter is never characterized in
such severe terminology.) Simply put, nothing about GORP is funny, not
the swishy chef’s assistant, requisite food fight, or jokes about
pimple-popping and masturbation. Chances are everything seen here has
been done better before, even in duds.