Side Out

  • 1990
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Sports

SIDE OUT stars C. Thomas Howell as Monroe Clark, a pre-law student from Milwaukee who comes to Los Angeles for the summer to work for his wealthy uncle (Terry Kiser, the corpse in WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S), a sleazy real-estate lawyer. When not distributing Pay-or-Quit notices to insolvent tenants for his uncle, Monroe hangs out with his old buddy Wiley Hunter...read more

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SIDE OUT stars C. Thomas Howell as Monroe Clark, a pre-law student from Milwaukee who comes to Los Angeles for the summer to work for his wealthy uncle (Terry Kiser, the corpse in WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S), a sleazy real-estate lawyer. When not distributing Pay-or-Quit notices to insolvent

tenants for his uncle, Monroe hangs out with his old buddy Wiley Hunter (Christopher Rydell), who teaches him the joys of playing volleyball on the beach. Coincidentally, one of the tenants to whom Monroe has served notice is volleyball coach Zack Barnes (Peter Horton, of "thirtysomething"), a

onetime champion of the beach now washed-up and badly in debt. While chasing down Zack, Monroe meets a pretty marine biology student, Samantha (Courtney Thorne-Smith). She likes him, but is disgusted by "rich boys slumming," and rejects him when she learns about his uncle. Seeing that she's

attracted to volleyballers, Monroe works hard on his game. While he and Wiley are playing abysmally in a match, Zack sees them and offers to coach them in return for Monroe's keeping the rental case out of court. The guys immediately start improving under Zack's tutelage, despite the taunts of the

obnoxious current champion, Rollo (Randy Stoklos), who bets Zack that he and another pal can beat the newcomers. On the day of the match, Zack doesn't show up, since he's busy being seduced by his former girl friend, Kate (Harley Jane Kozak). Monroe and Wiley lose, the latter breaking his arm due

to their lack of teamwork. Furious at Zack, Monroe threatens to punish him at the rental trial. However, when the day of the trial comes and Zack seems certain to face a ruling against him, Monroe speaks out and presents evidence that makes Zack the winner. Zack now decides to become Monroe's

teammate for the Volleyball Classic. During their preparations, Samantha warms up to Monroe, figuring he's her type (his uncle has fired him), and it is revealed that Zack's career went down the tubes because Kate once talked him into throwing a championship. At the Classic, Zack and Monroe

surprise the crowd with the excellence of their play, making it to the finals against Rollo and his pal. Of course, this year Kate has bet everything on Rollo, and she persuades Zack to blow the match for her again. He plays badly, until Monroe convinces him to do the right thing. The underdogs

win, Monroe decides to go to UCLA and stay with Samantha, and all the good guys end up happy.

Ever since the success of ROCKY, Hollywood has tried to use every possible sport in the already hoary good-guy-wins-big-match-and-redeems-himself story line (the nearly countless examples range from ONE ON ONE and VISION QUEST to CADDYSHACK and BREAKING AWAY). So it shouldn't come as much of a

surprise to see volleyball made the vehicle for the familiar plot. One can almost imagine the producers discussing how to stretch the volleyball scene in TOP GUN into two hours--and they could have done worse, but not much. Most of the movie's faults lie with the script: the characters aren't

captivating or believable, the dialog is inane, and the story is routine. Moreover, though Howell (YOUNG TOSCANINI) and Thorne-Smith (sometimes seen on "L.A. Law") are attractive and do their best with what they've got, and though Horton is actually pretty good, the supporting players are

generally awful (Rydell is an exception). Even the requisite pop soundtrack doesn't create any excitement.

Still, SIDE OUT's saddest failure is that most of the volleyball sequences are simply dull. These scenes are edited to try to make the game sexy--with plenty of intercut bikinied T & A--but showcase only the editing itself, not the volleyball players or beach bunnies. Admittedly, the Volleyball

Classic that climaxes the picture offers some appreciation of the sport, but by then it's too late. Made with the assistance of the Association of Volleyball Professionals and featuring real-life champs of the sport (bad guy Stoklos among them), SIDE OUT might interest a few beach bums, volleyball

fans, and product-placement buffs, but otherwise it has limited appeal. (Brief nudity, adult situations.)

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  • Released: 1990
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: SIDE OUT stars C. Thomas Howell as Monroe Clark, a pre-law student from Milwaukee who comes to Los Angeles for the summer to work for his wealthy uncle (Terry Kiser, the corpse in WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S), a sleazy real-estate lawyer. When not distributing Pay… (more)

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