It's Lambada time--time to celebrate the amatory movements that come as close to dance-floor sexual intercourse as any two-step can get without prompting a police raid. In LAMBADA, our principal dance instructor is sexy Kevin (J. Eddie Peck), whose shapely buns (no doubt the result of his
nightly participation in Lambada competitions) attract the lustful attention of all the women in the film, including his high-school students. By day, Kevin is a clean-cut math teacher at an exclusive Beverly Hills high school. But by night, he sheds his suit and his respectability and slithers
down to the barrio where his Latino side emerges. Cutting loose as his alter ego, "Blade," at an East LA disco called No Man's Land, Kevin leads a double life so he can dance his way into the hearts of local high-school dropouts. Each night, after grinding his groin into a female pelvis or two, he
instructs the dancing dropouts in a back room with textbooks he's taken from his school without permission. Appointed head of the math department by starchy principal Singleton (Keene Curtis), Kevin enjoys the best of both worlds until Sandy (Melora Hardin), his horniest pupil, spots Kevin at No
Man's Land after she's had an argument with her jock boy friend, Dean (Ricky Paull Goldin). Kevin, who is devoted to his unusually understanding wife, and who explains to his young son that he dresses in leather and earrings as part of a tutoring project for the underprivileged, was raised in the
barrio, and later adopted by Anglos who inspired him to give up street fighting and get a decent education. Now he returns to his old community as a not-quite-white knight. But problems arise when tough teen Ramone (Shabba-Doo) resents the teacher's meddling because Kevin uses mathematical
theories to beat him at a game of pool, and when Sandy begins frequenting the club, hoping that the pounding Latino beat will loosen up the upright Kevin. Although the school superintendent (Basil Hoffman) is impressed by Kevin's progress with the spoiled Beverly Hills students, it isn't long
before the two worlds that Kevin lives in collide. While Kevin loads his barrio entourage onto a school bus headed for the computer room at the posh Beverly Hills school, Ramone lies to Sandy about Kevin's nocturnal activities with his female pupils. When Dean shows up at the disco to drag Sandy
away, Ramone spills the beans about Kevin's excursion to Beverly Hills. Later, however, No Man's Land's owner, Uncle Big (Dennis Burkley), makes Ramone realize that he has been a jerk to wreck the GED plans of his friends. Outside the school, Dean and his snooty pals rumble with the barrio kids
until the cops show up. The next day, Kevin is fired. Responding to a petition by the reformed Sandy (who has since learned that Kevin really is an upstanding family man), the superintendent agrees to hold a math competition pitting the privileged brats against the barrio crowd. Naturally, Kevin's
job is on the line. When the poor students beat the bluebloods, Kevin is reinstated, thus paving the way for an all-dancing finale in which upper and lower classes forget their differences and lambada the night away.
There may be a more ridiculously plotted musical, but it is hard to imagine one as silly as LAMBADA. Scads of illogical developments make it difficult for the average viewer to take this exercise in escapism seriously. Most notably, all the high-school kids look like college graduates, and the
supposedly mature Kevin looks every bit as young as his students.
Nearly as annoying as the film's lapses in logic is its failure to deliver on its promise of steamy romance. Without any real release for the libido, the film is little more than an unsatisfying tease. After being privy to Sandy's fantasy of dancing with Kevin, we almost wish he would begin an
adulterous relationship with her. Why was it necessary to have Kevin married? Couldn't Hardin have played another teacher instead of one of Kevin's pupils? The film's credibility is further damaged by its failure to live up to its avowed pro-ethnicity stance. If LAMBADA is supposed to make a
statement about ethnic pride, then why does Kevin use his adoptive Anglo parents' name at work? Why is he so reluctant to call attention to his Mexican heritage?
Admittedly, the lambada beat is catchy and the choreography is sensual enough to compensate for the lamebrain plot much of the time. If only they had teamed up this sexy South American dance with a more workable storyline. (Violence, profanity, substance abuse, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1990
- Rating: PG
- Review: It's Lambada time--time to celebrate the amatory movements that come as close to dance-floor sexual intercourse as any two-step can get without prompting a police raid. In LAMBADA, our principal dance instructor is sexy Kevin (J. Eddie Peck), whose shapely… (more)