Objectively better than its 1983 predecessor, Screwballs II: Loose Screws actually benefits from trying to be just like every other generic sex comedy from the ‘80s, but then subsequently suffers due to its inferiority to most of them.
Director Rafal Zielinski’s fantasies play out in implausible scenarios scripted by Michael Cory, Linda Shayne, and Roger Corman regular, Jim Wynorski. The result is never truly boring, even if the plot is just a series of loosely related scenes.
As though American Pie were made a generation earlier, Loose Screws follows a quartet of super-seniors who finally get kicked out of their high school (Beaver High), only to be sent to a continuation program for troubled kids. At their new school, Coxwell Academy, they make enemies with the principal, Mr. Arsenault (Mike MacDonald). Nearly every name or line of dialogue has a sexual pun built into it, as though it were written by 12-year-olds.
Yes, there is a lot of nudity, yet the entire story revolves around hijinks more than anything. The narrative is surprisingly kinetic despite the completely disjointed storyboard. However, the film really falls down from the absolute lack of relationship building between any of the characters. Look at Porky’s, where you feel as though the group of guys really bonds throughout the film—they joke around, tease each other, and swap stories. In Loose Screws—which is influenced by the 1981 Canadian romp more than any film I’ve ever seen—it takes 15 minutes for the four protagonists to even have a conversation together. And we can never believe they’re actually friends.
The clear high point is the soundtrack, which features power pop obscurities from actual artists. Even stranger, music supervisor Fred Mollin ensures that most of them are as lewd as the content in the film, including four separate tunes with the word “screw” in the title—the title track is particularly catchy.
So often do these sex comedies pretend like they’re trying to have credibility by shoehorning random story details and character development that the target audience wouldn’t never care about anyway (American Pie was the first time this was ever executed properly). At least with Screwballs II: Loose Screws, you can say it makes no pretenses about what it wants to accomplish. Awful editing, stupid jokes, and abandoned plot points plague the film, but that’s always exactly what you expected anyway.