Risky Business

(Paul Brickman, 1983)

with Jess de Martine, on DVD at Jess’s place, 1/4/14



God, this is a weird one.  The plot leads us to expect a teen sex comedy, and there are moments when that’s what we get – but there are also some strange musical montages that feel like dream sequences (but aren’t), and our protagonist mostly seems to hate being in a teen sex comedy, and he’s so stressed out by everything that happens that it’s hard for the audience not to get stressed out in response.  In a classic farce, Joel would scramble desperately to hold things together, and only succeed in making them worse; in a more modern comedy, he might decide that having his house invaded by hookers is awesome, and determine to make the most of it – consequences be damned.  In Risky Business, Joel is strangely passive.  Sometimes he whines; sometimes he tries to fix things; mostly he just goes along with other people’s suggestions, without much enthusiasm.  Despite Tom Cruise’s charm, Joel is a dead fish of a main character – and Risky Business is a “comedy” that comes across as oddly muted and vaguely depressing.

Published in: on January 8, 2015 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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