Review: ‘Eight Days a Week’

A lightweight teen sex comedy, "Eight Days a Week" is marked by some surprisingly raunchy dialogue and developments that very accurately reflect the extreme horniness of the story's characters, as well as by a consistency of tone unusual in this sort of hormonally preoccupied fare.

A lightweight teen sex comedy, “Eight Days a Week” is marked by some surprisingly raunchy dialogue and developments that very accurately reflect the extreme horniness of the story’s characters, as well as by a consistency of tone unusual in this sort of hormonally preoccupied fare. Not a festival item by any normal means but starting its public life in that arena nonetheless, this very low-budgeter could present an interesting marketing challenge to the right enterprising distrib. Its mainstream sensibility and potential as a high school date movie would have to be made manifest despite the undescriptive title and lack of important cast names and obvious selling points.

First bigscreen feature by writer-director Michael Davis takes place virtually in a single setting, the yard in front of the home of the lissome Erica (Keri Russell), where Peter (Joshua Schaefer) camps out all summer in hopes of persuading the babe of his dreams to fall for him before everyone heads off for college. As with just about everyone else his age, Peter has sex on the brain, but he seems like an exalted romantic compared with his friend Matt (R.D. Robb), who is proudly and heavily into self-gratification.

From the vantage point of his streetside outpost, Peter observes “the TV of life” such as it exists in his idyllic, if quirky, little town. There is the strange man whom everyone thinks is with the CIA, the woman who mows her lawn at night, the skulking weirdo whom people suspect killed his wife, and the attractive divorcee forever working out in her living room.

Most of all, however, there is Erica, “a walking wet dream” who parades in front of the hapless hero in a different provocative outfit every day on her way to seeing her jerky hunk boyfriend Nick (Johnny Green) but eventually starts talking to the faithful young man who has devoted his existence to her, to the point of being kicked out of his parents’ home.

So much of the humor revolves around sexual urges and bodily functions that the picture actually develops a recognizable and sustained tone, if not a style. Although the gags sometimes approach the “Porky’s” gross-out level, especially where Matt is concerned (he purchases a sex machine after spraining his neck attempting self-fellatio), the story is so grounded in Peter’s unwavering desire for Erica and his misguided attempt to win her favor that the human connection is generally maintained.

Some of it is silly and cornball, notably the exhortations of Peter’s old Italian grandfather and some B&W “Italian” inserts meant to inspire the hero in his course of action. By contrast, pic doesn’t stint in spotlighting child and teen cruelty, and script’s frankness, surprising at first, remains tart throughout.

Good-looking but given an edge of geekiness by black-framed glasses, Schaefer makes the central character by turns appallingly foolhardy and unusually mature. Russell is a decidedly alluring Lolita, and Robb generates quite a few laughs as Peter’s slacker sidekick who puts all his energy into solo sex.

Writer-director Davis displays audience-pleasing instincts in spades and would seem to have gotten as much, if not more, out of his material as could reasonably have been expected, especially given the limited means. Technical aspects are on the rudimentary side, and first move by any interested distrib should be to spruce up the sound work, as well as, perhaps, the soundtrack.

Eight Days a Week

Production

An Underdog Prods. LLC presentation. Produced by Martin Cutler, Gary Preisler, Michael Davis. Executive producer, Dale Rosenbloom. Directed, written by Michael Davis.

Crew

Camera (4 Media Film Lab color), James Lawrence Spencer; editor, David Carkhuff; music, Kevin Bassinson; music supervisor, Jon McHugh; production design, Chuck Conner; art direction, Chase Harlan; costume design, Sybil Mosely; sound (Dolby), Darryl Patterson; associate producers, David Pratt, Kathy Pratt, Gerri Daniels; assistant director, Andrew Stewert; second unit camera, Cicero DeMoraes; casting, Bob MacDonald, Perry Bullington. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival, Jan. 11, 1997. (Also in Slamdance fest.) Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Peter - Joshua Schaefer
Erica - Keri Russell
Matt - R.D. Robb
Peter's Father - Mark Taylor
Peter's Mother - Marcia Shapiro
Nick - Johnny Green
Nonno - Buck Kartalian
Ms. Lewis - Catherine Hicks
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