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WEIRDO FLICKS: 'Nerds of a Feather'

by Eli Kroes

You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...

'Nerds of a Feather' - 1990, Directed by Gary Graver and Mario Romeo Milano

This is a prime example of why not everybody should attempt comedy. The main director/writer/actor (wow, way to take charge!) writes some painfully unfunny dialogue, and is also not very good at much else. That being said, there are still quite a few laughs throughout, albeit at the film's expense.

So, this is apparently what happens when you write a James Bond parody where the big joke is that a nerd is the hero. Remember, this is from the 'Naked Gun' era, so maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time.

But...either Mr. Milano was too self-conscious to play a 'real' nerd, or he'd just never met one, because in his mind a 'nerd' is somebody who is clumsy and knocks things over all the time. He doesn't wear classes or do nerdy things at all...he is just a klutz.

He also seems to equate little people with humor, which is a common misconception I guess. Maybe at one point this was true, but nowadays they have to be DOING something funny, which none of the 12 or so little people here do.

Most of my laughs came from the many poorly-made Cold War jokes. These were the peak 'let's make fun of the Russians' years, but these folks just do a horrible job. It's a lot of 'the Kremlin would never let us do THIS!' type stuff. The Russians in the film are also quite bumbling, similar to Boris and Natasha from the old cartoons.

The plot, although really unimportant, is basically that the Russians are trying to steal some scientist's work, but the nerd keeps accidentally messing things up, which leads them to think he's a top CIA agent. He and his talking dog (although NOBODY seems to hear it?) Lampshade continue doing this throughout. He falls in love with another clumsy 'nerd,' and that's basically it. Really dumb stuff.

Oh, and the nerd-girl's ex-boyfriend, an abusive biker, quickly becomes fast friends with them both(??).

Obviously not all of the films Troma digs out of the muck are that great...some of them are just to turn a quick profit. This one falls kind of in between. I would probably watch it again, but no more than that.

VHS photo by Toby Hudson.