'Revenge of the Nerds': THR's 1984 Review
On July 20, 1984, Fox released the R-rated college comedy Revenge of the Nerds. The Hollywood Reporter's original review is below:
There's a little nerd, at least, in all of us and this identification factor will probably work for Fox's box office prospects. Revenge of the Nerds is primarily the story of outcasts getting their just rewards, and that is always a satisfying movie ingredient. Nonetheless, this scattergun, often scatological film is filled with extensive racial stereotypes, which may offend some moviegoers.
Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards star as two horn-rimmed computer students who attend the local Texas A&M-type college. Despite their glee for the computer program, the school unceremoniously moves them from their freshman dorms to make room for a fraternity of rowdy football players who have accidentally burned their house down.
So the two, with numerous other nerds from the dorm, are left to camp out in the gym. They are an inept and ineffectual group, and as scripted by Steve Zacharias and Jeff Buhai include just about every nerdish stereotype imaginable: a gullible Oriental, a gay black, a sallow-cheeked violinist and a belcher. They're constantly harassed by the jocks, primarily a smooth-talking but vicious blond quarterback (Ted McGinley), who manages the Greek council and makes their lives miserable.
What follows is a flotsam of rowdy, collegiate high jinks directed against the nerds. And then the nerds strike back, using their wiles to counter the Greeks. Such strategies as putting liquid heat into their jocks and rigging up a camera to the sorority girls' bedrooms highlight their revenge. While much is in the Animal House vein and quite funny, several tasteless episodes mar the film. A scene of a drooling group of nerds sitting around their screen watching one of the sorority girls masturbate is particularly odious.
As the nerds, Carradine and Edwards are convincing, especially with their strange sucked-in laughter. McGinley as the WASP bully boy is smooth and exudes a strong stage presence. As a blonde sorority bitch, Julie Montgomery is appropriately snide and winning, while Bernie Casey as the black frat head is nimbly effective. Technical credits, under Jeff Kanew's fast-paced direction, sometimes carried-away production. — Duane Byrge, originally published on July 18, 1984.