Risky Business Reviews
The score is outstanding (prob the best of the 80's, if not the best one of the best anyways,) and mixed with the song soundtrack it fits very well. The writing and dirrecting is very sharp and it's well cast. Tom and Rebecca are excellent as are the other well known supporting actors.
You can't have an 80's film or teen film marathon without watching this one. If you have never seen it your in for a treat.
Grade = 8.5/10
Few films encapsulate the 80's as accurately as Risky Business, a film which feels hollow and predictable. In what I assume has been discussed by everyone already, Risky Business feels like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, except lacking in the fun, size and vitality that Day Off featured. Sure, the latter came three years after, but what it did it did better. Risky Business spells out its thematic material as blatantly as possible, and never encapsulates the same kind of jubilant energy that is wishes it could provide. That, and it's corny as one could possibly imagine. Tom Cruise's "starmaking" turn as character Joel Goodsen (seriously? You want to change that "e" to an "o" so that you could make that character's intentions and personality even more blatant?), is both entertaining for small durations, but never harboring as much fun as it wants to. So I go against the pack, and untroubled by the fascinating power of nostalgia, I attempt to uncover the meaning and issues behind Risky Business!
Ecstatic when his parents leave on vacation for a few days, high school senior Joel Goodsen (Tom Cruise) cuts loose with his best friend Miles. After an attempt at securing the services of a prostitute goes slightly awry, Joel hires gorgeous Lana (Rebecca De Mornay) for a night of delight. Stunned by the amount of Lana's "bill" the next morning, Joel grows frantic after he crashes his father's Porsche. In an effort to raise lots of money fast, a desperate Joel turns the house into a brothel. Courtesy of Google.
The first issue prevalent is one that presides in numerous films which feature social commentary on the desire to say "What the fuck", or be different; the emptiness of the locations. It works in a film like American Beauty because of the weird, wonderful and wacky personalities of the characters, and the screenwriter's intentions as to where to take them. The pristine quality of the modern suburbia has always irritated me, for its perfectly cut grass and sheer whiteness seems just too perfect. I prefer the noise of the city, or the imperfect nature of the countryside (pun intended). When a film like Gone Girl or American Beauty tackles the subject of suburbia and its misleading quality, I expect a certain emptiness of frame and character. That feature is overloaded within Risky Business. There aren't many cars driving on the roads, the characters acts unnervingly unnatural and rigid, the extras aren't high in abundance, and the world doesn't live or breathe. It's stagnant and neutral, a lifeless backdrop for the events and character of the picture.
If only those events and characters were enthralling. Joel Goodsen is dreadfully boring and predictable, his entire personality stilted. It's not necessarily Tom Cruise's fault, as he is relegated to performing a certain screenplay written by a separate individual; this certain individual, Paul Brickman, who is also the director, gives a repetitive nature to the feeling of this lead protagonist. He strives to be good, but he ends up doing irresponsible things in irresponsible situations, some of them completely lacking in sense or meaning. And he does this over and over again; he has no conviction at all, unlike Ferris Bueller, who at least understands his motivations. The supporting cast is just as irritable, Rebecca De Mornay as Lana proving as frigid as the prior character, but I think this is more down to Mornay's performance, which again, doesn't feel fluid or natural. Perhaps the only truly impressive supporting performance here comes from Joe Pantoliano (who I've been seeing a lot of as of late, thanks to Memento and now this), whose performance as pimp Guido is somewhat commendable. He at least sounds human when delivering his lines, unlike much of the rest of the cast who enunciate everything with melodrama and over-dramatic facial expressions.
Risky Business' main attraction is its visual comedy, quotes and memorability, that of which there is much. I could also slot Tangerine Dream's nostalgic score under those banners as well, as it's so laughably dated. There are some great moments throughout, namely the dance scene (which I don't need to spell out for you, I'm guessing), the multiple sex scenes (which are surprisingly intimate for such a film as this, and perhaps the only times when Goodsen and Lana seem like real human beings) which also happens to possess some kick-ass songs backing them, and a few jokes here and there which spell out the visual comedy ability of the director and writer. I'm not a huge fan of "In The Air Tonight", but for some reason, perhaps the volume, it just works in this context.
I mean, none of these are predominant enough to render a positive rating, but they're certainly stuff to think on. They even form a somewhat entertaining canvas for a film not as impressive as it desires to be. It's not a horrible film, per se; I'm not denouncing this popular piece of nostalgia as overrated drivel, like Aaron's absolutely beautiful write-up for Home Alone, found here, but I don't believe this is worthy of either the critical acclaim, or the fan-base that is possesses either. It's just not that good. I mean, it's fine in terms of editing and cinematography, but nothing ever really stands out, apart from some impressive POV sequences. Risky Business is just there, wavering within the dangerous abyss that lies between dated and relevant/nostalgic, and whilst many would prefer it to swing to the latter side, I can't help but feel that the film is far more grounded in its time than a modern classic like American Beauty, which transcends release date and maintains consistent value, no matter how dated the technology depicted may feel. That film is universal; this is not. Risky Business is business I'd rather not engage in every again, despite my initial investment.
"Say "what the fuck."... If you can't say it, you can't do it."