29 user 12 critic

The Pick-up Artist (1987)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 18 September 1987 (USA)
A womanizer meets his match when he falls for a woman in debt to the mafia.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Jericho (as Robert Downey)
Brian Hamill ...
Tamara Bruno ...
Rae, Girl with Dog
Angie Kempf ...
Jack's Student


A womanizer meets his match when he falls for a woman in debt to the mafia.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Pick-Up Artist... has finally met his match.


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 September 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El cazachicas  »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Vanessa Williams: As Rae, the girl in the street with a dog. See more »


When Randy leads Jack and a group of kids on a tour of the museum, she and the kids refer to a dinosaur as a 'Brontosaurus'. By the 1980s it was already well known that the correct name for this animal is 'Apatosaurus'. A tour guide should know this. See more »


Flash Jensen: You know something? I can't do this anymore.
[Referring to his alcoholism, as he dumps out his drink]
See more »


References Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (1984) See more »


Under The Boardwalk
Written by Arthur Resnick and Kenny Young
See more »

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User Reviews

a romantic comedy that's conventional but convincing and likable and sometimes very funny
7 February 2010 | by See all my reviews

What people were expecting from The Pick-up Artist I'm not sure. It is not a terribly original film, despite what personal attachment James Toback brings to the material as a filmmaker (it's been said he was basically writing Jack on his own experiences picking up girls), but it does work as entertainment within its parameters. We want to see this Jack Jericho, a lady's man who will go after any girl that's on the street or walking out of a shop, wise up and we know that he will when he finds the girl who will meet his match by not giving her number to him. This happens with Randy, who 'hooks up' with him but leaves it at that ("The phone number would mean the future," she says), and it just eggs him on to go after her - which is trouble, since she's in one of those I-owe-the-mob-such-and-such-money situations, which Jack rises to the occasion.

If you have seen one you may have seen another, or another. It's part screwball farce and part a on-the-surface 80's John Hughes teen comedy (how old Jack is is hard to say, though likely not much older than nineteen year old Randy), but there's something else that makes it interesting. The way Toback shoots and writes the movie, one might think some of the moves and mannerisms, and how he moves and is seen in New York City, may resemble a Woody Allen movie, or, to be further with a comparison, a French New Wave movie (look at Robert Downey Jr and tell me Jack Jericho couldn't be played by Jean-Paul Belmondo circa 1960). It's writing is based on formula- we know how Randy's conflict will be resolved, if not quite how Jack and Randy will turn out together- but it's sharp dialog and some actual wit, lines that let us know these characters are thinking and on their toes, that rises above the expectation.

Another thing is Downey Jr. Like with Toback's 1997 film Two Girls and a Guy, he adds another notch to the material as a likable sleaze (this time more likable than in 'Two Girls', after all in this film Jack lives and takes care with his grandmother). He isn't just another cocky ass, but a determined player who is given humanity and depth by RDJ. Ringwald fares almost as well, though it's hard to say if even at her best she's anywhere near the power of her male co-star; mostly she just reacts to things he says, or at one point does have a convincing crying fit after losing some money. Other supporting actors like Harvey Keitel, Dennis Hopper and Danny Aiello are wonderful to see, even if they're given characters that have a lot less depth than Jack and Randy. They're mostly set-pieces in the plot, but at least the actors have fun playing hard-nosed-mobster/drunk/concerned-friend respectively.

This isn't a romantic comedy to rush out to see, and it certainly isn't anywhere in a high pantheon of screwball farces or in league with his New-Wave influences. But it's a short trip that hasn't aged too badly thanks to the on-screen charisma of its leads and some nifty 60's rock music put to the scenes. It's almost, dare I say it, underrated in Toback's oeuvre.

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