Risky Business - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Risky Business Reviews

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September 8, 2016
Text book eighties coming of age flick, with a career defining performance from Tom Cruise. The Tangerine Dream soundtrack really adds a touch of class.
½ August 23, 2016
Though there are more coming-of-age movies that feature an out-of-control house party (that eventually has to frantically be cleaned up before the frazzled host's parents come back home from whatever trip or ritzy dinner party they're devoting their time to) than I can count on my two hands, I'll never stop sympathizing with a harried protagonist until my young years are over and I've become one of the stereotypical parents myself. Because the fantasy of doing bad and getting away with it is a delicious prospect, even if the person thinking up the fantasy (such as myself) is too blah to actually go through with the deed. In the confines of a world that mostly circles around trying to get into a good college by the end of the school year, trying to somehow get laid, and/or trying to impermanently get a taste of adulthood, there's something alluring about the potentiality of going against the grain of expectation for a few hours without penalty.
1983's "Risky Business," certainly one of the best movies about teenagers ever made, is a film that consists only of the doing bad and getting away with it abstraction. By its end, its hero (played by a winsome Tom Cruise in his first major leading role) has sunk his father's $40,000 Porsche into the depths of Lake Michigan, gotten stoned, lost his virginity to a call girl (a terrific Rebecca De Mornay), destroyed his GPA after missing a couple of midterms, gotten suspended for a week, thrown a legendary party for all his classmates, and has effectively turned his house into a brothel for a night. And yet he still gets into Princeton, maintains his affable boy next door reputation, and remains a trustworthy child in the eyes of his clueless parents.
"Risky Business" is all adolescent conceit, sure, but that's what makes it so much fun - it's an accumulation of a teenage boy's wildest dreams, and is delivered snappily and self-assuredly. Written and directed by Paul Brickman, and produced on a respectable budget of about $6 million, it's objective and it's conversationally accurate - gifted with an ear John Hughes would kill for and a pen that drips with comedic inspiration, not a moment rings false, which is impressive (considering that the entire film is inarguably implausible).
Its teenagers are not beefcakes nor bombshells in their twenties but teenagers (still played by people in their twenties), teenagers that are riddled with bad hairdos, dashes of acne, clothes that emphasize their wanting to look older, and body language that tries to suggest that they've seen it all and know it all but are, in fact, terrified of what the future might hold. Cruise's Joel is an embodiment of these insecurities - he has plenty of things going for him, but that doesn't stop him from wanting to temporarily escape his predictable, pressured existence.
In "Risky Business," his golden opportunity for, ahem, risky business, comes in the form of his parents' (Nicholas Pryor and Janet Carroll) going away for a week for a romantic vacation. He'd be more disposed to absorbing the pleasant uneventfulness if his friends didn't make the idea of in-house rebellion sound so glamorous. His first night is decidedly unexciting; he has a frozen meal for dinner (that he doesn't realize has to be heat up), takes advantage of the home's liquor cabinet, and memorably dances to "Old Time Rock and Roll" in a pink nightshirt Olivia Newton-John might have worn before she went bad in "Grease."
But his short-lived freedom only gives him more incentive to push the envelope as far as he can. Before long, people are coming over as a hook up hotspot, and, most daringly, Joel calls over De Mornay's prostitute Lana (whom he finds in a newspaper ad) for a night of passion (that develops into something more). But when his bravery jumps to a point in which the aforementioned undertakings almost seem inevitable, then things really start heating up, testing Joel's stature all the while exemplifying his prospective future as an entrepreneur.
Never tested, though, is Cruise's unflagging star power. As we've grown accustomed to his unpredictable (and sometimes head-scratching) star persona throughout his thirty-five years of notoriety, "Risky Business," which complements his special sort of talent adeptly, is a movie as charismatic as the modern day cinematic icon it made. Cruise is immaculately cast as Joel; while he seems as naive and centrally innocent as any high school senior, the second he flashes that Tom Cruise smile, ear to ear and disarmingly all-American, an inexperienced penchant makes way for a scheming, almost adult aura. Joel's as likable as he is unmistakably flawed - he's a movie teenager that has the thoughts and feelings of an actual teenager - and Cruise, so ragtag appealing and so interestingly smarmy, brings pathos to an already exceptional role. (And his widely imitated dancing to Bob Segar's 1979 single is really something else.)
But most thrilling about "Risky Business" is that it doesn't bear the lightweight, materialistic charms of a teen movie going through the motions. Here is a sex comedy that portrays sex as something vulnerable instead of untouchably scary, that finds its comedy in humorous misfortune, discovery, and interaction, never to imitate laborious situational comedy heat. It's a coming-of-age story that juxtaposes heavenly fantasy and frightening reality and ends up with something touching and smart; it's among the greatest of its kind.
August 9, 2016
Risky Business captures the teen angst of the 80's in a funny and sexy coming-of-age story that boasts a gracious turn from star Tom Cruise.
½ August 8, 2016
Exceptional teen movie, marvelously shot and good scripted with everything that a good teen movie needs to acquire to be a teen classic.
July 18, 2016
It's worth it to see Tom Cruise's breakout performance that put him on the map.
½ April 27, 2016
A teen is left home alone, meets a call girl and becomes a pimp to repair his dad's wrecked Porsche.
April 17, 2016
Risky Business (1983) ???
Refreshing, mature comedy about an anxious teenage boy who, while his parents are away, invites a prostitute over(!) . . . but soon finds the situation increasingly problematic. Sharp, often very funny, with a star-making role for Tom Cruise. Unfortunately film also doesn't know when (or where) to quit. Still, there's a lot going for it, including a highlighted dancing sequence of "Old Time Rock 'n Roll" (a now-classic scene).
½ April 10, 2016
Fantastic movie about taking chances and living life to the fullest. 9.3/10
March 21, 2016
A comedia dramática produzido por Jon Avnet e Steve Tisch em 1983 foi um sucesso de publico e amplamente exaltado pela critica, com roteiro e direção de Paul Brickman. Risky Business é estrelado por Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay e um Porsche 928, a comedia agradou ao mundo, a min não, aliás a cena de maior sucesso onde o personagem Joel Goodson dança de cueca com um charuto na boca é deprimente e indigna de risos. Não passou pela minha cabeça sorrir em qualquer momento, o arco dramático é hipócrita e não desenvolve o tema proposta, fica sempre no quase e nunca jorra qualquer emoção agradável.
March 12, 2016
Truely original, well directed and well made with a brilliant soundtrack
February 28, 2016
Teen fantasies comes to the screen. Amazing experience.
½ February 28, 2016
The first of many Tom Cruise classics
February 11, 2016
how to get into college
January 29, 2016
The best of it's kind, great chemistry between the young Cruiser and the lovely De Mornay, enhanced by Tangerine Dream's beautiful score. It's also got some of the best lines of eighties cinema. " I've got a trig mid-term tomorrow, and I'm being chased by Guido, the killer pimp".
½ January 17, 2016
Your parents are gone for the week, what do you do? Well call a prostitute over sounds nice! This film shows us all the crazy things that can happen when you have the house to yourself. With all those great comedic opportunities, this film didn't take advantage of enough of them. Tom Cruise is great in this movie and he has his nerdy comic relief friends, his dad's Porsche, and a prostitute with him. This could be comedic gold. Unfortunately, the only time I really laughed was at the famous scene of Tom Cruise dancing around his house to Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock N' Roll" A couple chuckles here and there but nothing hysterical. Although it's not as funny as I'd hoped, It still is an enjoyable movie. It's always fun to see a young Tom Cruise act.
½ January 3, 2016
A likeable, charismatic performance from Tom Cruise and writer/director Paul Brickman's surprisingly deep satire help propel Risky Business past its occasional narrative bumps.
December 31, 2015
Movies like this only come around once in a while.
½ December 29, 2015
While Tom Cruise plays a likable character and the film has its enjoyable moments. My question is: Where's the excitement in this slow plot?
½ December 29, 2015
9 out of 10:

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