Review: ‘Exchange Lifeguards’

Described by writer-producer Phil Avalon as "Porky's on the Beach,""Exchange Lifeguards" falls short of even that modest aim.With a cliched screenplay and almost complete lack of zest and comic invention, it's a tired throwback to the beach films of the past but might grab video sales and latenight cable exposure on the names of Elliott Gould and Christopher Atkins and mildly titillating nudity.

Described by writer-producer Phil Avalon as “Porky’s on the Beach,””Exchange Lifeguards” falls short of even that modest aim.With a cliched screenplay and almost complete lack of zest and comic invention, it’s a tired throwback to the beach films of the past but might grab video sales and latenight cable exposure on the names of Elliott Gould and Christopher Atkins and mildly titillating nudity.

Cornball plot has L.A. developer Gould, who’s being sidelined by his faithless wife and his business partner, plotting to take over an Australian surfing beach for a high-rise resort.

He sends his son (Atkins) down to Oz to check out the situation.

Atkins, posing as an exchange lifeguard, is soon accepted by the laid-back locals and finds himself a lissome sexual partner in Rebecca Cross, who owns the land his father needs for the development.

Naturally, Atkins’ true identity is revealed just as he’s decided to support his suntanned Aussie mates, and he finds himself on the outside.

But all ends well when his repentant father arrives and proposes an environmentally friendly cooperative development, which pleases everyone except the unrepentant capitalist villains.

All this is just an excuse for a string of mostly unfunny jokes involving nude bathers, a farting dog, condoms and ugly Americans who mostly turn out to be not so ugly after all.

Maurice Murphy’s direction is routine, but given a script composed of wall-to-wall cliches, this is hardly surprising.

Gould and Atkins go through the motions, but there are a couple of discoveries among the supporting cast, notably Julian McMahon (son of a former Australian prime minister), who oozes charisma as the boss of the surf club, and Cross, who makes the most of her thin material.

Exchange Lifeguards

(Australian -- Comedy -- Color)

Production

A Beyond Films release of an Avalon Films production, with the participation of the Australian Film Finance Corp. Produced, written by Phil Avalon. Executive producers, MPM and Beyond Films. Directed by Maurice Murphy.

Crew

Camera (color, Panavision widescreen), Martin McGrath; editor, Alan Trott; music, John Capek; production design, Richard Hobbs; costume design, Jenny Campbell; sound, Bob Clayton; stunts, Richard Bone; assistant director, Dennis Kiely. Reviewed at Hoyts Centre 4, Sydney, Australia, Oct. 26, 1993. Running time: 93 min.

With

Bobby McCain ... Christopher Atkins Mike McCain ... Elliott Gould Mick ... Julian McMahon Julie Thomas ... Rebecca Cross Richard Grey ... Christopher Pate Cheryl ... Vanessa Steele Tishi ... Peter Gow Donna ... Amanda Newman-Phillips Max ... Mark Hembrow
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