Assembly-line feature from the John Hughes teen factory, about a high school have-not (Eric Stoltz) who one-ups the snobby haves (he treats a suburban rich kid’s girlfriend to an impossibly lavish date) while managing, predictably if not quite credibly, to remain true to his proletarian self (by settling for the tomboy who really loves him). Amanuensis director Howard Deutch (Pretty in Pink), standing in again for the prolific factory manager (who produced and wrote the screenplay), follows the familiar Hughes formula of flattering the young audience’s sense of moral righteousness while pandering to its fantasies of status, power, and talion revenge (nice means right in the land of Hughes, but only if you have the muscle to back it up). Everything comes easy here, especially the right to narcissist complacency, but Hughes/Deutch are too busy playing Mr. Goodvibes to worry about the contradictions at the heart of their shallow moral vision. It’s possible to argue an auteurist case for Hughes company product—themes and styling are consistent from film to film—but nobody seems interested in doing it. I wonder why? With Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson, and Craig Sheffer.
Some Kind of Wonderful