On the surface, this is a youth-oriented bit of summer
fluff, a T&A comedy about a woman who succeeds as the men's basketball
coach in a high school that hired her unseen, based on her brilliant
sporting career and her first name, "Randy."
The film gets strange at times, however.
The most off-kilter aspect of the film is that she
(beautiful, 30ish Cathy Lee Crosby) gets enmeshed in an affair with her
starting point guard, and the movie stands aloof from any moralizing about
their relationship. They don't talk about their age difference, and how it
can't work. They don't talk about her abusing her moral authority as an
adult in charge of kids. There is no external criticism of their
relationship. They are simply allowed to be a boy and girl in love and
enjoying each other. I guess the world has gotten considerably more
politically correct since 1978, because I was genuinely shocked to see
that at the end of the movie they were still a couple. In fact, the
championship game was going poorly in the first half, because the kid saw
his coach/lover kissing someone else. When they got it straightened out at
halftime, he went out and played like Jerry West.
Another strange element of the film involves hypnosis.
The team's center is generally a doofus, but he thinks he is Sidney Wicks
(a former UCLA and NBA star who appears in the movie) when the key
post-hypnotic suggestion is uttered. The coach finds out about it, and
tells the kids that they have to win without hypnosis, because it's all
about character and finding what's inside you. But when she's still down
by 13 with four minutes to play in the Big Game, despite her lover's
resurgence, she forgets about that character crap and decides that Doofus
has to find what's inside Sidney Wicks, so she herself utters the magic
word and becomes Champeen.
So we learn that all that character stuff is bullshit,
and that winning is the only true virtue, except for having sex with
children entrusted to your care. There are some unusual core values on
display here, in a film which seems surreal by today's standards.