Oddballs (1984) ***1/2  This crazy Canadian Meatballs ripoff is a nutty nostalgia trip of a high order and the sort of cheese the phrase “They don’t make them like this anymore” was coined to describe.  Politically incorrect to a nearly unbelievable extreme in our sanitized epoch of enforced mediocrity, Oddballs is the only summer camp movie with the titular courage to hire a leather-garbed convicted child molester as the adolescents’ athletic instructor and depict him sniffing amyl nitrite as he excitedly puts the boys through their exercises.  Then, too, there’s the cantankerous, alcoholic camp owner who nearly succeeds in mowing the kids down with a machine gun, and the irreverent camp counselor who’s so committed to preparing his pupils for adulthood that he’s even prepared to give them fake IDs and take them on a jaunt to a singles bar, where he buys them a round of beers.

Oddballs is such a drunken, devil-may-care flick it makes the Police Academy series look staid and stuffily drab by comparison.  This is the sort of gonzo film where someone fires a gun into the air and a witch comes plummeting to the earth with little ado, so if you think you have the guts and nostalgic stomach for it, just prepare yourself for the sheer insanity.  Did I mention the bargain basement extraterrestrial and the black kid who talks like Pepe Le Pew?  Oddballs probably only merits 1 or 2 stars by ordinary standards, but I just had to break down and give it a big 3.5 for its unabashed eagerness to hoist its hag flag.

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