TOO MUCH of too many good things spoils Sununer Lovers, which despite a lame plot could have been a pleasant $4 tour of Greece's gamiest nude beaches. But Director Randal Kleiser, now the undisputed king of schlock summer flicks, has lost all sense of moderation, and this film quickly becomes boring and annoying.
Michael (Peter Gallagher) and Cathy (Daryl Hannah) decide to spend one last summer young and free and in love before entering the real world, in which, presumably, they will loss their tans and become cynical. They travel to Santorini, an island off Greece, where thousands of beautiful people between the ages of 22 and 25 gather each summer to lie on the white cliffs, roll in the black sand, swim in the blue sea, and hump like little Greek bunny rabbits. Though the two Americans are initially restrained by faint Puritan twinges, they become intoxicated by the hedonistic atmosphere and make their share of whoopie in a water bed-equipped villa on a hill.
Inexplicably, Cathy's long legs, lavish curves, blond hair, pleasant disposition and cagerness to experiment sexually cannot hold Michael's attention. Hater Lina (Valerie Quennessen), a be witching French archeologist from the village down the street who fits Mike's bill as the perfect zipless fuck--there's really no more appropriate tern for it then that one, coined by novelist Erica long.
Lina has come to santorini to escape jealousy and confinement She thinks Michael is cute but has no interest in breaking up the Ken-and-Barbie relationship she sees giggling on-the balcony 50 yards from her own. Bur wait...this is Santorini, island of passion. Lina's willing to try a sub-let arrangement on Michael's taut brown body, and lo and behold, Miss Wonderbread, Cathy, finds the whole thing kinky enough to give it a whirl. They all fall in love with the concept and move in together.
THAT'S THE FIRST HALF of the movie, and nothing more happens. The threesome vigorously enjoy each other's physical prowess in a variety of settings--disco, living room floor, fancy restaurant--and tumble merrily toward a completely, ambiguous and absurd climax at summer's end. But the movie still could have worked.
Director Kleiser (responsible for Blue Lagoon and Grease among other monumental celluloid accomplishments) has chosen a fascinating backdrop for a film. In addition, the Dionysean ambience of the place, if sensitively explored, would be an interesting subject for folks who think that the Cape of the Hamptons are the cat's pajamas. Summer Lovers, however, is nothing more than a sloppily arranged series of brief glimpses of an island paradise, seen through a camera constantly swooping for 180-degree panoramas and zooming from close-ups of sweat-filled navels to post card spots of the entire rocky coast.
The wild colors, exciting at first, ace dizzying by movie's end. The geography never makes sense--houses on hills with no apparent connection to the downtown bistro-brothel district, or to the beach. A debauched French movie-within a-movie, apparently being Filmed in the middle of the main story, also lacks an identifiable time and place.
Perhaps the biggest shame is the waste of all those exquisite bodies. Kleiser plays games; filling the screen with unclad gods and goddesses but rarely letting you look for too long or too closely There's so much of it, that the nudity loses all sense of eroticism. The actual sex cryptically hinted at among the protagonists has no impact and elicits no interest.
Gullagher and Hannah probably wouldn't have done any better if the film were more sophisticated. They don't seem to be acting at all as they portray Americans out of their league on the Continent. Hannah, in particular, emotes with the power of a high school thespian. Quennessen is indescribably alluring. But she but she gets stuck with so many cliched French free-spirit lines, that even she becomes tiresome. P>Summer Lovers made persuade few wealthy College kids to pass R. Lauderdale next spring for a week on this Aegean, but as car as fun for this summer, this is not where it's at,