A 1980s comedy viewed as a bit of a classic from the decade, for what it aims to do, Revenge Of The Nerds holds up quite well nowadays if you can overlook some of the more problematic elements. Be warned, however, that at least one of the problematic elements is quite difficult to just shrug off, but I still think it is worth trying to compartmentalise the issues away from the essence of the plot and comedy.
Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) and Lewis (Robert Carradine) are the main nerds here, off to Adam’s College to continue their studies. Once there, it’s not long until awful alpha male types see them as another target. Because it is tradition to mock and abuse the nerds. Losing their main residence, which is given over to “the jocks”, and being pushed to, and beyond, breaking point, the nerds come up with a plan to try fighting back. They will compete against the jocks in a variety of disciplines, and hope that their smarts outweigh the muscles.
Written by Steve Zacharias and Jeff Buhai, this is chock full of stereotypes and situations that we’ve now seen in hundreds of other movies. But this was one of the earliest to do it all in a film focusing on “the losers”, and that is worth remembering. The characters are generally a fun mix, the challenges are enjoyable, and the third act is a fun up and down journey to a finale that could go either way.
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