A teen couple runs into trouble when the girl’s ex-boyfriend returns home from rehab and takes exception to her dating another lad. Car chases, switchblades and awkward dance sessions ensue.
O’Dale Ireland returns after the not-so-classic High School Caesar with this, the far superior (albeit über tame) Date Bait. Considering the time period, audiences weren’t really prepared for what this film should have been (am I the only one who always sees the title as “Date Rape”?), but what we’re left with is an entertaining teen romance/melodrama with just enough of an edge to keep things interesting.
Date Bait is the less-than-sordid tale of Logan and Sue: two teenagers in love, forbidden to be together by the girl’s parents and haunted by Brad, an ex-lover from her past. Themes of pre-marital sex, drug abuse, organized crime, and class bigotry abound as these troubled teens belly ache about their underage plight pretty much constantly. The two biggest thorns in their sides are Brad’s wiseguy brother and Sue’s socially bigoted father, who are both perpetually trying to keep them apart to suit their own agendas. As it turns out, ignorance truly is bliss and the “teens” continue drinking Cokes and trying to see each other’s naughty bits with little regard for the powers that be trying to tear them apart. However! Shit soon gets real and they’re plummeted into a whirlwind of violence that threatens to end their little fling once and for all. Will Brad and Sue survive long enough to squirt out their 2.5 kids and live the American dream?
With the exception of Gary Clarke (The Virginian, Tombstone) as the misunderstood Logan, the cast is comprised of virtual nobodies; many of whom never went on to do anything else. This is surprising because the performances by all involved are competent at the very least, even considering the small scale production of the film. Of course the teens are played by actors in their mid to late 20s/early 30s and it shows, but that’s all part of the film’s charm.
Despite the moderately neutered content, Date Bait is a proficiently assembled film that was clearly intended on being shown to kids more intent on making out at the drive-in to really be paying too much attention to what’s happening on-screen. It’s vigorously paced and manages to cram in enough action to ensure its less-than-captive audience doesn’t nod off prematurely. If you don’t mind your trash on the (very) tame side and can ogle the subtle intricacies of pointy tits in tight sweaters, you are in good company here.
Were it up to me, I’d make Logan get caught banging Sue’s girlfriend only to have Sue come at him with a broken bottle, slicing his face up in the process. They struggle and soon end up having a sordid, bloody three-way culminating in both ladies covered in filth as Sue’s drunk dad stumbles in on them with the revolver he keeps under his pillow only to off them all in a fit of rage before wandering into the road and getting hit by a car being driven by a high-as-fuck Brad. But what do I know?
Date Bait isn’t going to turn any heads that aren’t already inclined to seek it out. It’s a solid time-waster that could conceivably be viewed by a more conservative audience (want something unconventional to watch with the girlfriend? *wink wink*). Trash cinema fans might enjoy the change of pace and those into vintage anything will likely find much to appreciate. It may be innocuous, but it’s still trash – and that’s why we love it.
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