Endless Bummer


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Endless Bummer is a coming-of-age tale about a young surfer's last summer before college. Given the fact that the lead character is named J.D. and the author is named John 'J.D.' Drury, it's probably a safe assumption that the film is based on reality or at least an embellished version thereof. I don't suppose that this was developed as a National Lampoon property, but for one reason or another it now bears the dreaded "National Lampoon presents ..." before the title.

It's 1984, and J.D. has finally saved up enough money to buy a custom surfboard for his last big summer with his friends in Ventura. He's so excited with his new possession that he goes out surfing alone immediately after taking the board from the shaper. This does not prove to be a wise decision because a fall separates him from the board, and he can't locate it. He and his friends deduce that it has been stolen, and soon determine the culprit. The remainder of the film is a road trip to retrieve it from an unfamiliar part of Southern California.

The story has its moments, but the author apparently had to face many choices between accurate recollections and entertaining ones. He chose the former too often, so this pleasant enough straight-to-vid sometimes suffers a bit from a tendency to take itself more seriously than merited by the subject matter. That's my way of saying that the film would play well as a comedy, except that it's not really funny. It's really too short on humor and raunch to get many rentals as a straight-to-DVD youthploitation comedy.

I am guessing that the National Lampoon people noticed the same thing, because they added some additional footage in a clumsy attempt to punch up the humor and nudity. Although they did accurately identify a problem with the film, they provided a disastrous attempt at a solution. The inserted footage seems entirely out of place, and contains completely different actors and characters who appear nowhere else in the film. In order to establish a connection to the main story line, these additional characters are pictured having a party back on the home beach and talking about the progress of the main characters, who are off on their road trip.

There is some interesting gimmick casting. Joan Jett plays a dotty beach rat who may or may not have witnessed the theft. Vanessa Angel has a small part as the mother of one member of the surfing crowd. (Vanessa Angel as a mom? Boy, that'll make you feel old, if you don't already.) James Remar turns in a serious, methodical performance as the father of the thief. To be honest, it was it was a realistic and credible performance, but it seemed out of place. Remar seemed to be acting in the Broadway revival of Long Day's Journey while the other performers were more like stoners acting out their favorite lines from a Bill and Ted movie.


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4.6 IMDB summary (of 10)


Straight to video.



Most of the nudity was provided by Red Bikini Girl, a topless character with no lines. IMDB incorrectly identifies Red Bikini Girl as Shayne Lamas, daughter of Lorenzo, but the part was actually played by an actress named Stacey Leigh Dearman.

There is also one topless woman in the footage inserted by the Lampoonistas. They are credited, but it's not possible to say who is who.


Our Grade:    C-

It has some moments, but can't sustain them long enough to justify its length.