Plus it's a perfect encapsulation of the goofball year that was 1987.
Mark Harmon, in a role that seems tailor-made for Bill Murray, underplays quite nicely and has no problem at all creating a goofball teacher character that we like almost instantly. Other standouts include an icy Kirstie Alley (as if there's any other kind), Dean Cameron as the horror geek "Chainsaw," and Robin Thomas as the typically officious jerk of the piece.
It's a full-bore piece of cinematic cotton candy, but there's a good reason why many people of "my" generation hear the title SUMMER SCHOOL and are forced to stifle a little smile. The screenplay is little more than a few clever gags surrounded by typical plot conventions and one-note characters, but the secret weapon in this one is director Carl Reiner. (See what happens when you get a veteran to direct one of these little piffle comedies instead of just hiring the cheapest first-timer available?) Even when SUMMER SCHOOL gets a little topical and sappy, and it definitely does, Reiner keeps everything moving while letting Harmon do the heavy lifting as his young co-stars sprinkle the chuckles around.
Fun, fluffy stuff, period. And don't forget to keep an ear out for a very early, very plucky, and VERY '80s musical score from Danny Elfman!
The 14-minute "Inside the Teacher's Lounge" features a bunch of recent interviews with Reiner, Harmon, screenwriter Jeff Franklin, and a whole lot of the (now grown-up) teenagers. "Summer School Yearbook" (11m) focuses more on each of the kids. Both featurettes are really quite good, packed as they are with warm memories, amusing clips, and a bunch of archival on-set footage.
Rounding out the disc: the original theatrical trailer and a photo gallery.
Plus Chainsaw STILL makes me laugh.