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A great, mildly funny obscure 80s comedy for us mildly amusing obscure 80s fans.
'Plain Clothes' is not great comedy, though it does, at least subtly, attempt stupid humor (such as the running gags with the school announcements and the Springsteen jokes). And, as a b-comedy with a relatively unknown cast leading with Arliss Howard and Seymour Cassell (who is great, but doesn't often act in the mainstream circuit), this may be one obscure 80s comedy that could only really be best enjoyed by us fans of obscure 80s movies. Familiar, name-escaping faces, a different story, high school in the 80s, it just might have what you're looking for.
Plain Clothes is the story of a babyface young cop (Arliss Howard) who's younger brother is prime suspect in a teacher's unusual murder at his high school. Convinced that his brother is telling the truth when he claims to be innocent, the cop goes undercover as a high school student to investigate. Only, what he discovers is much more than just a murder. You have your typical 80s teen movie elements, since this does take place in a high school and our main character does pose as one of the more interesting students. Love triangles and social scuffles mixed with the suspense/action of the cop story angle. It does quite a bit of shifting and does, as another viewer commented, culminate in a rather confusing climax.
For this bit of narrative game playing and mild comedy treatment, this movie is perfect for just a certain kind of audience (if you love obscure b-80s movies) and a certain kind of day (lazy weekend noons are probably best). By the way, Max Perlich fans should not miss him in his trademark leather jacket and buzz cut when he shows up (briefly) as Carter, one of the kids who befriends the undercover cop.
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