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PRETTY IN PINK BY JOHN HUGHES

Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy & Jon Cryer headline PRETTY IN PINK written by John Hughes
Like GREMINS or BACK TO THE FUTURE is to Steven Spielberg, here's a popular John Hughes movie, one of many during the 1980s, wherein he's the Executive Producer (and in John's case, Writer), not the Director, and if you really look close, it shows: while some of the characters have potential, there's simply no direction at all...

Pretty in Pink Poster
Basically, everything is much too easy. Pretty boy rich kid Andrew McCarthy falls for Molly Ringwald as fast as she daydreamed handsome jock Jake would simply notice her in SIXTEEN CANDLES, which makes the latter far more adventurous and suspenseful. Replacing the usual geeky sidekick Anthony Michael Hall, who the comic relief Duckie is based on (and who was originally cast in the part), is played by Jon Cryer, an eclectic mod/ska/punk mess who looks like he was catapulted into a Thrift Store nightmare, tumbling through the other side wearing threads making as much sense as his forced character, so overly smitten with our heroine that he's not interesting at all (in fact, he doesn't seem straight to begin with: perhaps he's the harbinger for the term Metrosexual). But Anthony Michael's geek from CANDLES had a lot more going on other than his futile lust for Ringwald, while Duckie's one-track mind causes him to run around on an annoying treadmill, lacking purpose with a huge crush more befitting a 13-year-old girl staring at the biggest poster in her bedroom with an unrequited sigh that never ends.

Jon Cryer with Molly Ringwald
Meanwhile, the always-quirky Annie Potts, as Ringwald's boss and mentor, is an 80's cool older chick named Iona, giving sporadic advice yet she only seems part of the movie to inject a retro aesthetic for a lost and dreamy Generation X in the form of her ever-quotable New Wave Baby Boomer: almost a hippie but it's difficult if impossible to understand what anyone, younger or older, really stands for, or is trying to look like, or represents, overall, to the plot or pop culture in general.

Annie Potts staple role
Of course, being a Hughes' vehicle, there's that Class Envy push that should mean a lot (like in the latter and far superior SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL), but since McCarthy's Blane, referred to as a "Richie," falls quickly in love with Ringwald's Andie, hanging around with the poor kids in their own section of campus and whose (Ringwald's) out-of-work dad, played by Harry Dean Stanton, seems in a lethargic method-acting workshop mode and, representing the lower class, his droll personality simply gives power to a far more interesting persona, back at school James Spader, in which money provides a deeper reason to be evil and merciless: having a lot of dough is the only thing needed to further enhance his conceited attitude, shared by a vicious blonde girlfriend who loathes Andie like the chicks hated CARRIE in the 1970's... That would surely have upped the prom sequence a notch, given that Ducky was her first victim.

Dweezil Z
Yet the bullying aspect, like everything else, comes to absolutely nothing but a few memorable lines of dialogue... Another Ringwald underdog for girl's to relate to; a somewhat catchy title song a bit too grungy to the overall fluff; and an attempt to create a beloved movie (with cult status), which did actually work, somehow. Yet maybe, like the horrendously shallow DIRTY DANCING, it's only for "chicks" to get, and no one else. Hell, it's not like "we dudes" don't have our own banal crap to protect.

RATING: **
TRIVIA: Andrew Dice Clay plays a character named The Dice Man like he did in his standup routines and in the previous year's MAKING THE GRADE, starring another Brat Pack alumni, BREAKFAST CLUB favorite, Judd Nelson • Dweezil Zappa has a cameo as a guy randomly hanging out, and his albums are highlighted in Annie's record store and, for those not in the know, his father was the late Frank Zappa, whose music was very weird but he could play the guitar incredibly, as can Dweezil... yet he never quite made it as an actor or musician... his most memorable success he wanted nothing to do with: being one of many MTV "V-Jays" after the original five had quit or been canned • And Brat Pack fans might not know of the Pack's most obscure film, 1988's attempt at a deeper romance in FRESH HORSES, an Arthouse, Neo Noir melodrama starring Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, and two non-famous polar opposites: Viggo Mortensen and the star of our last review, ZOOLANDER 2, Ben Stiller.
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