So I’ve got my Porky’s the wrong way round, which is every bit as painful as it sounds. When I invested 50p in the first two films in the franchise, I was really only interested in the sequel. Bob Clark was quite a prolific and successful director at the time, and seemed to be slumming it with the juvenile antics of Porky’s. But the rumour was that he tried to reset the balance with the sequel, which doesn’t feature Porky or his swampy establishments. Instead, Porky’s II goes off in a different, more respectable direction, covering Shakespeare and the Klu Klux Klan, and the result was a decided turn-off for prank-hungry audiences. But will hindsight reveal a neglected classic?
To quote one of my regular commentators; nope. Porky’s II is a very odd film in that Clark’s trawl through his own coming-of-age experiences seems to run out of gas rather abruptly here. We still have Pee Wee and his gang, and they’re still playing pranks, like slipping a live snake into the toilet bowl of their gym-teacher, but they don’t have the impact of the first film’s gym-obsessed antics. Instead, the characters are absorbed in productions of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, leading to an endless stream of homo-phobic puns about fairies. Their school production is shut down by local authority figures, so the boys take their revenge by humiliating them by their own hypocrisy.
Despite some truly crude and awful scenes, Porky’s II seems to be aiming for some kind of political correctness; the restless sexual energy of the boys seems secondary to their desire to point out and remedy social issues in their community, and it’s a terrible fit for the franchise. A sordid scene in a graveyard, in which one of the boys thinks he’s accidentally killed a prostitute, is played for laughs in an utterly unacceptable way, and this is the kind of scene which earns the un-coveted NO AWARD rating easily.
Porky’s Revenge followed, and went back to the original format by bringing the boys into conflict with Porky himself, but the audience had grown up and moved on by then. This washed-up sequel brings back some of the original talent, but lacks the energy and giddiness of the first film, leaving performers and audiences with nothing to go on in terms of laughs or pathos. It’s an utterly rotten film, and one to be avoided unless you have the lowest of low standards about what you watch. I won’t be going any further with my analysis of the Porky’s franchise; no Kim Cattrall, no thanks.