Little Darlings is a strange little coming of age picture. Tantum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol play 15 year olds from different sides of the tracks, each trying to lose their virginity while at camp. O’Neal is uptown, McNichol is downtown. It’s not shock who actually looses their cherry first. What is shocking is the candor of the young girls who populate the camp. For 1980 Little Darlings feels progressive. It’s a far cry from the make oversexed comedy of Porky’s or melodrama of after-school specials. In Little Darlings there consequences are emotional more than physical and they are buffered with small, innocent laughs.
Matt Dillion does his best to push the film into more wild terrains, with his youthful, dimwitted brand of macho, first seen in Over The Edge. The twisted, underage seduction of the lone counselor/love interest by Tantum O’Neal is near spine tingling and just plain wrong. At one point the French speaking, literature reciting counselor answers his cabin door with a Budweiser in hand, but even this is not enough. The camera gives odd attention to the budding womanhood of the counselors, but it’s more creepy than titillating; more head scratching, than interesting. Overall the film has its share of chuckle worthy lines, but Little Darlings is not absurd enough or wild enough to entertain more discriminating tastes.