Dirty Tennis

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Dirty Tennis
Dirty Tennis VHS coverart.jpg
VHS coverart
Directed by
Produced by
Written by James Van Patten
Distributed by MCA Home Video
Release date
  • November 5, 1989 (1989-11-05) (VHS)
Running time
33 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Dirty Tennis is a 1989 short comedy parody video about tennis instructional videos. It stars Dick Van Patten, Bruce Jenner[a] and Nicollette Sheridan.[2] It was written by James Van Patten and directed by Jonathan Baker and George J. Bloom. The short comedy was released on VHS in 1989.

As part of Dick Van Patton's post-Eight is Enough popularity, it was written by Van Patton's son Jimmy to depict in a comedic fashion how Dick is able to defeat a skilled opponent in a tennis game by using poor sportsmanship cheats.[3]


In a parody of tennis instructional videos, Dick Van Patten takes on the role of an unscrupulous tennis player whose only interest is to beat opponent Bruce Jenner in any manner possible, including interruptions caused by his using a sexy Nicollette Sheridan as a secret weapon of distraction.



Star-News wrote, "This 33 minute assault on uppity tennis etiquette is Jenner and Van Patton's answer to Tim Conway's Dorf on Golf attack on golf course snobbery".[4] Of her participation as co-producer, actress Kristy McNichol described it as a "hilarious video about all the dirty little tricks you can play on your partner to win", stated the short had "done very well in the market", and shared that producing it "was a lot of fun."[5]

The Philadelphia Inquirer shared that Dick Van Patten as a "self-described tennis hacker" and Bruce Jenner as a "dashing Olympic-class athlete" would seem unlikely as a comic duo. They expanded that the teaming of the two such unlikely men "in this parody of a how-to program works wonderfully," and "not solely because of the contrast in their ages and conditioning." Van Patton as a mischievous bad fellow plays well "against his nice-guy image" and causes Jenner to turn "his public persona upside-down" by being unafraid in acting "like a chump, preening in his sparkling tennis togs one moment and pitching a spoiled-brat tantrum the next." Praising the film overall, they concluded "Suffice it to say that in the small universe of comedy tapes that have been made expressly for home video, Van Patten has come up with a winner. And although Jenner may have lost on the court, he's bound to win new respect for his abilities as a clown."[6]

The Washington Post called Dirty Tennis "Dick Van Patten's Spinal Tap", and wrote the film stood as "a towering monument to the 1980s VHS era" when "mid-level celebrities could rent a camcorder, cobble together 60 minutes of junk video, splice it all together and ship it off to consumers who were starving to rent something – anything – they could jam into their VCRs."[7]

The Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars, and wrote "Dirty Tennis adds up to 33 minutes of malicious enjoyment, [it] is downright nasty – and therefore thoroughly delightful".[8]


  1. ^ Jenner changed her name to Caitlyn Marie Jenner in 2015 due to gender transition.[1]


  1. ^ Buzz Bissinger (June 1, 2015). "Introducing Caitlyn Jenner". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  2. ^ Knight-Ridder (May 12, 1989). "Vampires, Canseco Top Week's Releases". Spokane Chronicle. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  3. ^ Jeff Thompson (October 13, 1989). "Valley Television .86th World Series Action Takes To The Mound". Palo Verde Valley Times. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  4. ^ Marsha Fottler (June 15, 1989). "All Tied Up? Some Hints for Dad's Day". Star-News. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  5. ^ Stephanie DuBois (January 16, 1990). "Life's A Breeze For Kristy Mcnichol These Days". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  6. ^ Andy Wickstrom (May 11, 1989). "A Laughter Match On The Court". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ Matt Bonesteel (June 23, 2015). "RIP Dick Van Patten, king of 1980s jokey tennis videos starring Bruce Jenner". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Winning `Dirty' // Humorous cassette shows how to cheat at tennis". Chicago Sun-Times  – via HighBeam (subscription required). June 13, 1989. Retrieved November 23, 2015. 

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