Critic Reviews

67

Metascore

Based on 13 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Austin Chronicle
Amy Heckerling's portrait of high school/shopping mall life in Southern California is still just about as good as it gets...The panoply of teen types and turmoils is dead-on accurate.
100
New Times (L.A.)
Perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of American high school life in the '80s, complete with a Rubik's cube reference, the funny and occasionally harsh Fast Times, with all due apologies to John Hughes and Mickey Rooney, may be the greatest teen movie ever made (even though Cates was the only real teen).
90
A Trojan horse of a teen comedy that balanced lowbrow gags with subtle humor, genuine insight-Crowe spent a year undercover as a high-school student-and pathos.
80
Sean Penn's scenes are still so stunning...His Jeff Spicoli is an unabashed kick every second he is on the screen.
75
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
If the publicity release can be believed, he worked an entire year "undercover as a student to research teenage life". On the basis of what surfaces here - one stock phrase (the kids say "Go for it]" a lot) and a multitude of stock characters - Crowe might better have spent the time curled up with re-runs of Ozzie and Harriet. Give this intrepid researcher 12 months at General Motors and he might just discover the wheel.
70
The New Yorker
I was surprised at how not-bad it is. It may fall into the category of youth-exploitation movies, but it isn't assaultive, and it's certainly likable. [1 Nov 1982, p.146]
60
The film's most memorable character is the perpetually stoned surfer played by Sean Penn. His confrontations with Mr. Hand (Walston), a draconian history teacher, provide the film's finest moments.
60
The nice thing is that Crowe and director Amy Heckerling have provided something pleasant to observe in all of these characters though they really are sadly lacking in anything gripping.
50
The New York Times
There's a lot to make [Heckerling's] film likeable, but not much to hold it together. [3 Sept 1982, p.C6]
50
Wall Street Journal
At least the film has a sense of humor and a degree of energy... [but the] film never carries any of its characters or situations much beyond weary cliche. [10 Sept 1982, p.29(E)]

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