Starring: Burt Young, Kristy Swanson,
Mark Lattanzi, & Renny Scott
Genre: Sports Drama
Runtime: 92 minutes
Distributor: Skouras Pictures
Director: Strathford Hamilton
Producer: Martin Gilvy
Writer: Eric Edson
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Jerome decides to run for senior class president. Terri signs up Wayne to run against him. Wayne is unsure of himself and says, "I just want to get through high school in my own quiet way." Terri convinces her brother to throw a campaign party. When Miss Lanski, a beautiful, Swedish, ex-Olympic diver who coaches the divers, hears how Jerome and his thugs crashed and trashed Wayne's party, she befriends Wayne and agrees to help him overcome his fear of heights.
Her solution is (get this): sleep on the diving board. Incredibly, the next morning, Wayne's dizzying fear of heights is gone. Lanski flips on a boom box, urges him to "loosen up," and they begin dancing pool side. Soon he's turning reverse somersaults, not to mention falling head over heels for Miss Lanski, with whom, it is implied, he becomes promiscuously involved.
Consequently, Lanski feels compelled to resign and turns her student over to the Olympic coach who trained her. Wayne eventually qualifies for the state platform finals and squares off against the defending champion, Jerome. The competition plods along until Wayne's first-time-ever execution of a three-and-a-half somersault with a half-twist, which has all the excitement and suspense of watching a Wheaties commercial.
DIVING IN is predictable. From the first few scenes in which Wayne's fear of hitting the water from on high and the conflict with Jerome are established, one knows how this movie is going to resolve itself. Other facets of the script are simply ignored: the student election never resurfaces, nor do the loutish bullies who terrorize Wayne and his friend throughout the movie get their comeuppance. In several instances, lines of dialogue amount to no more than three words. Obscenity and profanity are used as filler.
The film continues the Hollywood trend to reverse the roles of smart-parents and naive-kids to savvy-kids and dull, insensitive parents who are unable to help. It is no wonder that there is lots of teenage drinking, sexual fondling and groping (promiscuity is the norm at Prescott High), but what do you expect from a film whose idea of comedy is to have some girls steal Wayne's swimsuit while he's showering?
Scenes of vandalism, destruction of property and bullying take up more screen time than the diving shots, which are not that good. The best thing that could happen to DIVING IN would be to take it for a long walk off a short pier.
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