Andrew McCarthy and Rob Lowe in Class (1983)

A Lowe Point for McCarthy

Having won a scholarship to a well to a top prep school, naive Jonathan (Andrew McCarthy) soon falls foul of some prep school humour when his room mate, the confident Skip (Rob Lowe) makes a fool out of him. But after a rough start the room mates end up becoming best mates and having realised that Jonathan is still a virgin Skip gives him the money to head off to Chicago for a weekend to do the deed, which he manages with an older woman called Ellen (Jacqueline Bisset), leading to a romance to blossom between them. But when Skip decides to take Jonathan back to his family home for the Christmas break, Jonathan is in for a shock when he discovers the woman he has been sleeping with is in fact Skip's mother.

"Class" is for me one of those movies which if you watched at the right age probably holds some sort of nostalgic charm but when thought about you kind of wonder why. It is how I have always felt about it as I remember seeing it back in the late 80s and like many of the movies featuring Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy it reminds me of my teenage years. And when I have watched "Class" since I have always ended up enjoying it but then each time questioning whether it is really as good as I remembered it and coming to the conclusion it wasn't.

Andrew McCarthy and Jacqueline Bisset in Class (1983)

Now for me I know what the issue is with "Class" it has a split personality with a second half featuring a very different tone to the first half. During that first half it is more typical of an 80s teen comedy with various prank pulling, Rob Lowe in women's lingerie and various other exploits of young men feeling horny. Some of these scenes end up strangely memorable although one involving a fake suicide is also a little questionable. But as the movie progresses with Jonathan falling in love with Ellen the tone starts to shift until during the second half the comedy has been dropped in favour of drama as Skip discovers his friend has being doing his mum. It is such a dramatic shift in tone and the first half jars with the second one yet in truth split in two the two sides kind of work.

Much of what makes "Class" work is in truth down to the casting with Rob Lowe delivering that 80s bad body performance which made him popular but with it being more a case of teen mischief maker rather than complete bad boy. In the same way Andrew McCarthy delivers that 80s naivety which also made him likeable back in the days of the "brat pack" movies. The thing is that whilst Lowe and McCarthy are at home during the first half of "Class" when the tone shifts they begin to struggle with the emotional demands of the drama. It is during the second half Jacqueline Bisset really comes in to her home although in the terms of a more modern teen comedy she is certainly a MILF during the first half.

What this all boils down to is that "Class" is not so much a disappointing movie just one which really struggles due to a split personality. Taken separately the teen humour of the first half is good and the drama of the second half is okay but the two sides don't come together in a cohesive manner.

Tags: Age Gap Romances