Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Roller Boogie

Cleveland Press December 22, 1979

As the subject for a movie, roller disco proves even less fruitful than regular disco. When it is used as the material for a movie as mindless, witless and unimaginative as this, the subject lacks not only a future but even a past. The opening is slick enough. With Jim Bray leading an ever growing pack of attractive young people on skates, the screen is quickly filled with sharp, precise choreography on wheels. The scene is reminiscent of a certain soft drink commercial except that everyone is wearing skates.

Had the producers quit after the those first few minutes everything would have been fine. But you can't sell tickets for a few minutes worth of film.

Bray is the pleasant and skilled leader of the roller skating pack in the beach area of Venice, Calif.

Linda ("Exorcist") Blair is the poor little rich girl who drives over from her Beverly Hills mansion to take up this latest passing interest of hers.

Bray takes one look and tumbles for reasons that remain unexplained. It can't be purely physical. He's surrounded by younger, prettier, slimmer, shapelier bikini clad females.

It can't be her skating. Everyone else skates better. It isn't even her money since he doesn't know about that right away and doesn't much care when he finds out.

As for personality, skip it.

Bray's immediate ambition is to win the roller boogie trophy in a dance contest. Longer range ambition is the Olympics. What Blair is aiming at is never clear. Part way through there's a subplot about gangsters trying to muscle in on the disco rink. They close it down but the kids get together and rout the villains.

There's an invasion by Bray and friends at a swank lawn party in Beverly Hills with the sort of antics reminiscent of a Three Stooges comedy but not as good.

Film ends with the dance on wheels contest. Bray is coupled with Blair and the two of them win to no one's surprise. Bray is a good skater, Blair only so-so. The routines look good because he does all the work, lifting and hoisting her.

A hernia would have been a likelier reward than a trophy.