|"Roller Boogie (UA): If you thought Skatetown USA was bad wait until you see this--it's slightly better. Linda Blair is improbably cast as (I kid you not) a musical prodigy from Beverly Hills who's won a scholarship at Juilliard to study classical flute. But that's before she meets poor-but-hunky "Bobby" (Jim Bray) who gives her a strong case of boogie fever. from there, it's all downhill.. "|
Roller Skating Magazine, June 1980
NY Times, December 1979
Loved the little jab at the Bobby James character and his fascination with Thatcher's expensive suit and the comment about the necking on the beach.
December 24, 1979, Monday, Final Edition
Rocky Rolling; Another Time Around; Another Time Around A Well-Worn Rink
The Washington Post
By Megan Rosenfeld
"Roller Boogie," now playing at area theaters, is the sort of movie we should probably burn before it gets into a time capsule and reveals to some future generation the extent to which the 1970s could descend into cultural and artistic barrenness.
It is the second "roller" movie released this year, both
apparently attempting to duplicate the success of "Saturday Night Fever,"
replacing the discotheque setting with a roller-skating rink. "Roller Boogie"
continues in the grand tradition of "Beach Blanket Bingo," "Gidget" and other
such mindless tripe, except that it isn't even awful enough to be funny.
The star is Linda Blair, who earned early fame as a skilled vomiter in "The Exorcist" when she was but 15. There is nothing wrong with her performance in "Roller Boogie" that the loss of 20 pounds wouldn't cure. It is hard to imagine why she was cast for the part, which requires her to be in scanty skating outfits the entire time. When her co-star and skating partner, Jim Bray, had to hoist her into the air for a dazzling turn, some members of the audience actually groaned.
Bray was cast, evidently, because he is a real-life skating star ("Look, he has scabs on his elbow," said one person in the audience) and because he is cute. He is a wonderful skater. He is a terrible actor.
The plot -- heh, heh -- has to do with this musical prodigy
(Blair) who rebels against her oh-so-tedious affluent life (two Rolls Royces in
the garage) by going roller-skating with hoi-polloi.
She is rich enough to drive a turquoise vintage car that has a phone in it, and has her own set of credit cards. Anyway, the plot. These bad guys want to pave over the roller rink and replace it with -- a shopping center. It isn't the environmental blight or economic impact these kids object to -- it's that if the roller rink is closed, they won't be able to have the roller boogie contest!
The ending is of course happy -- except that Thunder Thighs has to go off to the Juilliard School of Music and leave her skating honey behind. Needless to say, this is after the two of them have won the boogie contest, despite the clear superiority of the other skating couples they compete against.
There are two good things in this movie: some of the group roller disco-skating sequences, and the turquoise car. The director of this film, Mark Lester, got his start working on anti-war films and antiestablishment political documentaries, according to his official bio. It really makes you wonder."
Blah Linda Blair the best of boring Roller Boogie
28 December 1979
The Globe and Mail
"You can learn something from anything, and from Roller Boogie (at the Imperial and elsewhere) you can learn this: that Linda Blair (heroine of The Exorcist) is in some indefinable way too old to play a character her age and that she's getting pudgy.
Miss Blair spends most of Roller Boogie driving around in an antique automobile, flashing entirely too much fleshy thigh. In several scenes, her hair in fly-away kinks, she looks a lot like the Maria Schneider of Last Tango in Paris days; because her whole persona practically exhales sexuality, you begin to fear for the teen-age male actor (Jim Bray) in whom she is interested - at least you wonder why she is interested, when she should be supported by a Argentinean cattle baron, at best - or working Santa Monica Boulevard, at worst.
Roller Boogie offers Miss Blair as the materially pampered but
spiritually abused daughter of a Beverly Hills couple (she's Saturday Night
Fever's Tony Manero with a Master Charge card) who drives - horrors] - her car
to the beach and slums with the roller boogie crowd for kicks. This crowd, led
by the horse-faced Jim Bray, an actor who gives new meaning to the word
wholesome, is about as dangerous and kicky as a rectory on Saturday night.
Roller Boogie is the second film to capitalize on Southern California's infatuation with (1) disco and (2) roller skating; it is inferior to Skatetown, U.S.A., in every possible detail. The acting is hideous, the skating sequences somewhere beneath contempt, the cinematography as grainy as the beaches on which it has difficulty focusing, and the storyline might be rejected by Happy Days. After a while, Miss Blair begins to look good."