Monday, 8 April 2013

Risky Business (1983)

Risky Business is a teen sex comedy with a difference. The difference is that it's one of the smartest and funniest of the sub-genre, with the only one coming closest to it being the 2004 film, The Girl Next Door (which is, to all intents and purposes, a loose remake of this film). Don't misunderstand me, I love Heathers, Mean Girls and Clueless, but they're not teen sex comedies. Porky's is certainly a memorable teen sex comedy, and American Pie is great, but they're not as funny and smart as this one. Writer-director Paul Brickman made something special with this movie. Something that tapped into every male teenage fantasy and also every dream scenario for capitalists thriving in the early 1980s. He also made Phil Collins cool and sexy, which may well be his greatest feat.

Tom Cruise (post-uneven teeth, but pre-BIG time) stars as Joel Goodsen, a decent young man who is at a very important point in his life. He's trying to keep doing well at school, he's starting to think about university education and he spends a lot of time with his friends as they all pretend to be grown-ups, wise in the ways of the world. When his parents head off for a while, Joel is entrusted to look after the home and be a responsible young man. His good friend, Miles (Curtis Armstrong), thinks that Joel should have a little fun, and perhaps get himself laid. That is why he calls a hooker. This sets off a chain of events that will lead to Joel meeting the beautiful Lana (Rebecca De Mornay), the dangerous Guido (Joe Pantoliano) and even a more confident and entrepreneurial side of himself. To clarify, Lana is a prostitute, Guido is a pimp and Joel finds himself between the two. That's not a good place to be, but it could turn out to be surprisingly profitable.

Great characters, a great cast that also features small roles for Bronson Pinchot and Richard Masur, a fantastic soundtrack, some enjoyably sexy moments and a lot of fun make Risky Business absolutely unforgettable. Well, Rebecca De Mornay helps a lot (was she ever lovelier? I doubt it).

And this magic moment . . .

Yeah, that just happened. Good on Tom Cruise for watching that moment many years later, while recording the commentary track for the movie, and having no shame whatsoever. In fact, he even admits that he danced to that very song at home before making this movie. That's why the movie is so damn good, because it IS very real and honest, even as things get a bit more comedic and ridiculous. Every male reading this review today has done something that this movie will remind you of - whether it's the miming and dancing to classic rock, the first civilised meal for one when left home alone or the time spent as a teenager discussing sex, planning for sex and pretending to know all about sex - and it's great to look back and laugh at those moments. Joel may have a lot to learn, but he DOES learn as the movie unfolds, making it easier to laugh along with every moment while still rooting for him.

Perfectly paced and utilising a script that provides one or two memorable quotes in every scene, Risky Business is a near-perfect classic to me. It's astonishing that this was a feature debut from Brickman and it's saddening to see that he's only directed one other movie since this one. Thank goodness he got this made. I just hope that one or two others enjoy it as much as I do. If you haven't seen it yet, take a risk.


This Bluray also has a commentary which includes Tom Cruise, making it one of the best potential purchases ever (I've not had a chance to listen to it yet, just revisited the movie as a rental, but it is the new top title on my Amazon wishlist) -

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