Nude Celebs: Judy Helden - It appears that a decent subtitle for this teen-fantasy comedy could have been Emmanuelle Cruises the Schoolyard. Starring the most well-known “Emmanuelle,” an uninhibited Sylvia Kristel, Private Lessons is a wet-dream for the under twenty-set… and a bit of an uncomfortable viewing experience for anyone not in their teens. The story finds Kristel as a rich kid’s new immigrant maid. When the kid’s millionaire father goes on vacation, the kid is left at home alone with the maid and the greasy chauffer (Howard Hessman with a moustache that should have received separate billing). Hormones raging, the kid affords every opportunity to spy on his maid, but when she catches him, rather than scold him she invites him into an affair! Of course, there’s an ulterior motive: the chauffeur has bribed the maid into a scam to dupe the kid out of his trust fund. But once she feels the wiley ways of this not-yet-a-man Cassonova, she cannot go through with the subterfuge.
The bizarre irony of this movie is that, like Porky’s, it is a movie made for adolescents that couldn’t be marketed to its target audience lest riots would erupt. This flick, however, holds the gauntlet for “first time” sexual experiences that are equally erotic and, well, unsettling thanks to the casting of then-18 year-old Eric Brown. Panning from Kristel’s chest, (or Kristel’s more perky stand-in, Judy Helden) to Brown’s wide-eyed, boyish face is just plain odd. And seeing her hands caress his underdeveloped chest makes one squeamish with its apparent wrongness. Alas, for many a kid, this here is heaven. Seduction by an older hottie European maid? 13-17 year-olds everywhere scream “sign me up” in unison.
If one can get past the weirdness of the Brown/Kristel/Helden couplings, then the movie is an easily digestible comedy shot like an 80’s TV-movie gone AWOL. Director Myerson’s career almost exclusively consists of made-for-TV work, and the bland direction will surprise no one. Alas, a few clever plot turns, a cameo by 70’s/80’s hottie Pamela Jean Bryant and a fairly engaging soundtrack make this one digestible.
- Studio: Live / Artisan
- DVD Release Date: February 7, 2006
- Run Time: 87 minutes
- US Theatrical Release Date: August 26, 1981