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Desperately Seeking Susan
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Reviews & Ratings for
Desperately Seeking Susan More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Tries to be fun and light but the convoluted plot really drags it down

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
16 November 2005

Roberta is bored and spends her time scanning the personal ads dreaming. When sees spots an ad saying "desperately seeking Susan" with a place and time she heads off to try and spot the people involved. She sees Susan meeting Jim and is taken by how free and fun she appears – taking the opportunity to buy her jacket for herself, only to find a key in it later. To return the key she places her own ad which Susan, Jim and several others take note of. Turning up in her new jacket, Roberta meets Jim's friend Dez who mistakes her for Susan shortly before she gets knocked unconscious. He looks after her unaware that Susan is being sought after by several different people for different reasons and that they are now incorrectly chasing Roberta.

A very eighties affair, this film is not as good as its reputation would suggest it is. The plot is far too convoluted and forced to really engage or to keep things light and fun and instead it gets bogged down in ideas, characters and plot threads. It has a bit of energy to it that has somewhat of a screwball air to it but with such a heavy plot it is hard for it to do much with it. It also feels very 1980's, not a bad thing in itself but it does mean that it hasn't dated well visually while Seidelman's direction is fairly ordinary and doesn't add much to it in terms of style.

The cast is fairly mixed but relies a bit too heavily on the star power of Madonna at the time. She actually plays second fiddle to the lead character played by Arquette, who is a bit vapid but does alright with the mixed identity chestnut. Madonna is pretty at ease in her character; she has no depth but that is not her fault and it is not really a problem in terms of the requirements of this film. Quinn is an appealing male lead; not a great deal for him to do dramatically but he works quite well with Arquette. The support cast is a really surprising mix as it contains plenty of well known faces in roles of all sizes; it is strange to see Metcalf, Joy, Patton, Wright, Turturro, Esposito, Hell and Argo all scattered over the film as if they were nobodies! Overall this is an OK film at best. It tries to create a real fun air but the convoluted plot makes it hard work to really get into it. The cast are interesting and the star power of Madonna must have helped at the time (and still I suppose) but mostly this doesn't really work and should probably be best watched as a bit of 1980's nostalgia.

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A good cast and a respectably low budget, but such a dumb story

Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
21 June 2004

The thing to see in Desperately Seeking Susan (a film I watched all the way through, for some reason or other, in the wee hours of morning) is the style of its time, the music, and Madonna. While she may have been lesser known when she was shooting this, by the time it was released it showed itself in its colors as just slightly more than a predictable vehicle. The cast that's set up (Rosanna Arquette, Aidan Quinn, Laurie Metcalf, Steven Wright) do what they can, and they show how they would go on to bigger and brighter roles and careers.

But there's just something about the script that kept on bugging me. Perhaps it's the device of amnesia- on top of the dopey, cute-to-the-girls guy (Quinn) that bugged me, or the way that situations just seemed to skim around truth in the plot. Then again, it is a suburbs vs. city fable dealing with personal ads, missing earrings, and a Magic Club. As a chick flick fantasy of the times it does work, but there's not a whole lot for the rest of the audience.

Or, perhaps, this just wasn't my kind of movie, despite liking the actors, and being intrigued by the time-capsule nature of the lower-east side and attitude of NYC. Although, Madonna was rather appealing in parts, if not as a whole performance (and definitely appealing compared to now, nineteen years later, as she goes through a "kaballah" phase).

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

80s overload, and then some!

Author: the amorphousmachine from Australia
28 January 2003

If you absolutely positively gotta see every movie ever made, substitute this one for another 80s comedy/romance! Otherwise, rent this and address your curiosity just like I did! The overwhelming 80s stereotypes come into full play with Madonna's bad girl image and typical 80s score. It's like going through an unpleasant time warp, and realising what used to be cool, just ain't cool anymore! Good thing, I was never a fan of this film and that this was my first viewing in the year 2002, otherwise I'd be sorely disappointed and dismayed that I used to like this movie. Unlike, 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' which manages to still remain funny and decent, 'Desperately Seeking Susan' is too reliant on Madonna's celebrity status and her 80s image. I can't stress 80s enough, but the film oozes it. Rather than producing a cohesive, funny and romantic comedy, this is a Madonna film, based on her image back then and it doesn't really have much to offer in this day and age. Don't get me wrong, I think Madonna's music was okay back then, and even now- but this film seems so cliché and atypical of that period. It's too self-aware, and the scene when the hit song of the moment comes on "Get into the Groove", just didn't work. It felt like a camera filming a fake party. It really came across unnatural. Aiden Quinn was okay as the lover interest, and Rosanna Arquette did an okay job as the goofy but likable lead. All in all, the film isn't that great, and personally, I was desperately seeking the remote control into the latter half of this film. A low ** ½ out *****!

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Good 80's Comedy!

Author: famousgir1 from London, England
9 December 2001

Desperately Seeking Susan is a good 80's comedies. Madonna and Rosanna Arquette both star in here. Now, considering Madonna is such a bad actress and most of her movies are terrible, this is one of her better ones. The best performance definitely comes from Rosanna Arquette though, who is a very good actress.

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6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Dreadful Fantasy

Author: gcd70 from Melbourne, Australia
27 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Dreadful 'fantasy' movie about a bored housewife who dreams of having a life as bold, risky and adventurous as "Susan", of whom she reads daily in the personal columns.

Whatever our director had in mind, and whatever she tries to do, just doesn't work in this unfunny comedy/drama. None of the humour is effective, and Susan Seidelman cannot create tension or any other intense emotion with the lame plot and contrived situations. The 'fish out of water' theme doesn't really hold either, as Roberta was never any good in her own environ anyway.

Nobody in the cast, including Rosanna Arquette, Aidan Quinn, Mark Blum, Will Patton and débutante Madonna, can do a thing with material this far beyond saving. One cameo of note though, from now highly regarded actor John Turturro.

As I've mentioned, ridiculous plot wouldn't hold water any better than paper bag, and sure won't manage to hold your attention. It's as drab as anything I have ever seen.

Even Madonna's catchy "Into the Groove" isn't worth the wait, and the outfits Miss Cicconi wears....well, it was the 80's!?!?

Saturday, November 4, 1995 - Video

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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: Gunnar Friðrik Eðvarðsson from Reykjavik, Iceland
30 April 2003

Desperately Seeking Susan is an allright comedy. It is not really funny. The film has a good plot and premise and overall a good script. The acting is good. However this film is in some ways just so boring. Hardly anything happens and some scenes are so useless. It is sometimes stupid and hard to undestand and not very realistic at some point. Desperately Seeking Susan has always been looked at as a comedy and though it hardly belongs in any other category I am going to create my own. Comedies that don´t have any jokes. This film is about a bored housewife named

Roberta who is obsessed with Susan. Susan is a twenty something girl who has travelled around America in search for something. Her boyfriend who is a punker writes in papers that he is trying to find her and Susan writes back to him that she is coming to see him soon. One day Roberta sees in the paper that they are going to meet somewhere on the coast of New York and she decides to stalk them. She sees them and follows Susan around. Susan sells her jacket to buy some shoes at antic clothes store and Roberta buys the jacket. She does not know that some gangsters are after Susan and Roberta dresses up as Susan to meet with her because she found a key in the pocket that Susan really needs. Susan gets arrested before she could meet Roberta and a man that is after Susan accidently thinks Roberta is her. He attacks her and is trying to get some earing that is worth millions. He is spotted and runs away and Roberta falls down unconsius. Suddenly another man who thinks Roberta is Susan tells her that he is a friend of her boyfriends and tells her that she can stay at his place. He has never met Susan and Roberta has lost all memory and doesn´t know a thing about what had happened or who she is. She still has the key and I am not going to say more you need to see it.

The two actresses Madonna and Rosanna Arquette are both good. Unlike other Madonna films. Desperately Seeking Susan was a hit at the box-office and Critics also liked it. Film critics also liked Madonna in the film and the film has become one of Madonna´s most successful movie of her film career.

overall grade 6/10.

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3 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Nothing special

Author: Tito-8 from North Bay, Ontario
10 May 1999

Some good performances and several fun moments were not enough for me to recommend this so-so comedy. Once the setup is in place, it's basically a series of predictable events that are occasionally funny, but eventually they get pretty tiresome. The ending was cute, but it was also obvious, and not nearly good enough to compensate for the slow spots that occurred leading up to the finish.

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5 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Desperately Seeking Talent

Author: Peter Kjaer ( from Silkeborg
29 May 1999

This is about the worst movie I have ever seen, the story is awful, and Madonna?? Totally without talent!

It is about the worst story, with no meaning, it is really thin!

The cast is about as awful as the story, Madonna has grown a lot since this movie and she must look back at this role to be the worst in her entire life!!

Don't see it! Unless you have nothing to do, choose cleaning your toenails instead!

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0 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Madonna is the only bright star in the movie

Author: Patrick Shannon from Largo, Florida USA
28 July 2005

This movie was definitely a promotional vehicle for Madonna. Madonna mania was sweeping the country like crazy when this movie came out. It was also, in my opinion, her best look out of all her fashion transformations thru the coming years. Rosanna Arquette was supposed to be the female star of the film but Madonna definitely stole the show. My only, and biggest, regret about this movie was that it had too much early 1980's influence which kept it from becoming a timeless classic, (too much punk rock like scenery). I'll never forget the scene in the movie when Madonna was in the bus depot restroom wearing a skimpy bra drying her under arms, her body was PERFECT. It gave the world a chance to see Madonna with her pre-2% body fat. That scene was the most flesh that had been exposed of Madonna, at that time, you can barely see her nipples poking thru her bra. Also, a very memorable scene from the movie is when Madonna and Mark Blum are in a disco and Madonna is sipping her "triple tequila sunrise" and gyrating her body against the jukebox to the sound of her own song, "Into The Groove". Unfortunately, this was the only memorable movie that Madonna appeared in, the rest of her movie career bombed at the box office.

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0 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Madonna ROCKS, Rosanna Arquette is so horrible

Author: sickcritik (
24 November 2001

This film is not so bad, it is starring Madonna in her "Like a Virgin" days, back then when she was much more fresh and young. When her breast was perfect and she was so sexual that even a blind guy wanted to have sex with her. She will always be one of the best. Rosanna Arquette, is none other than a no talented and stupid actress who don't know nothing about entertaining. The movie include some nice songs, Into the groove many others. Another good Madonna performance. Here is the story thanks to Jeremy Perkins.

Taken-for-granted housewife Roberta passes the time following the progress of Susan who regularly contacts her boyfriend Jim through the Personals. When she sees the two are meeting in New York Roberta goes along, ending up buying Susan's coat. Finding a locker key in the pocket she in turn advertises for a meeting with Susan. Jim sends his projectionist pal along to see what is going on, and when Roberta knocks herself out he assumes she is Susan. Then things start to get complicated.

Some nice Madonna's breast, legs and buttom scene make this film a must in any collection.

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