After numerous T & A comedies starring the beautiful people, Revenge of the Nerds spun comic and box-office gold from the risky decision to make disenfranchised dorks the heroes. And these are not just "movie nerds," either -- with the possible exception of future ER hunk Anthony Edwards, the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity is genuinely geeky. Although the film's intelligence level is more often in line with Porky's than a masterwork like Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds staked a claim for real public affection, enough to spawn three sequels and turn jock-bashing into a patriotic enterprise. The film lives off its succession of memorable set pieces, many of which focus on the disrobing of sorority sisters: the surveillance-enhanced panty raid, the pie-eating contest, the awkward first co-mingling of the Lambdas and the equally unfortunate Omega Mus. The frat decathlon caps the prank-pulling and one-upping perfectly, closing with the hilarious "Lambda Rap," which younger fans had memorized by their inevitable third or fourth viewing. Curtis Armstrong is particularly funny as the crude belcher Booger, just one of the great names that helped shape future nerd lore: Wormser, Poindexter, Takashi, and Gilbert fill out the crowd. Revenge of the Nerds delineates the college social scene with such willfully broad strokes that it sets up a classic battle between good and evil, picked-on and privileged. The underdog victory allows the audience, through cheeky grins, to celebrate who they really are, rather than who Hollywood tells them they wish they could be.
by Derek Armstrong review