Delightfully cheesy and silly, Zapped! is a charming romantic eighties teen comedy that’s going to leave you in a good mood. Let’s face it, we don’t watch these movies because they’re so good but because they have this special eighties atmosphere. And sure, nostalgia plays a huge role but there was something really different about this decade. Every time my girlfriend would walk in and see me watching something that doesn’t look like it was from this century, she would say you’re watching those eighties movies again, aren’t you? So, I became known as the eighties guy.
Movies like Zapped! are perfect for drinking a couple of beers and smoking a couple of joints. You lose yourself in all the hair, crazy fashion, and stereotypical characters. Not to mention the fact that marijuana is a major part of the plot. Additionally, you can count on a lot of bad acting but loads of charm. Movies like this have a soul and that magical atmosphere where anything might happen. I mean, you could be just your average high school science nerd one minute, and the next minute you could realize you have telekinetic powers.
And you can guess what our hero is going to use those powers for. So, there are no layers, no convoluted stories, or anything like that here. However, Zapped! might even surprise you with its creativity. The movie opens with our lead character testing out a diving suit for a mouse! If that’s not creative I don’t know what is. Once Barney realizes he has supernatural powers the movie becomes an exercise in how much can you exploit this one concept.
Barney Springboro is your average nerdy kid who likes to experiment in his high school’s laboratory. However, after one of his experiments involving marijuana he will find out that he has the power of telekinesis. He can move objects with the power of his mind. What follows is a series of comical mishaps all culminating in one hell of a finale.
Despite having the R rating, Zapped! does not feature any nudity. This is quite strange when we know just how raunchy the teen comedies were back then. Even Bachelor Party starring Tom motherfucking Hanks featured that infamous hot dog scene. The explanation seems to be that because Porky’s was such a huge success, they intentionally added a few scenes to try and ride that wave. It’s funny to think several decades later we would get the cockmeat sandwich in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Speaking of funny, I have to mention the scene with the priests as it had me on the floor rolling with laughter.
So, if you’re looking for something harmless and mildly entertaining do check out Zapped! To continue your journey do take a look at another cute eighties blend of science fiction and comedy, Weird Science. Mischief, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Three O’Clock High are more of straight-up comedies but still worth a watch.
Director: Robert J. Rosenthal
Writers: Bruce Rubin, Robert J. Rosenthal
Cast: Scott Baio, Willie Aames, Robert Mandan, Felice Schachter, Scatman Crothers
Fun Facts: Scott Baio and Willie Aames were both 21 during filming, while Heather Thomas was 24