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Foolin' Around (1980)

A working-class boy falls for a girl from a wealthy family, and must compete for her with a rich boy who also wants her.


Richard T. Heffron


Michael Kane (as Mike Kane), David Swift



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Busey ... Wes
Annette O'Toole ... Susan
John Calvin ... Whitley
Eddie Albert ... Daggett
Cloris Leachman ... Samantha
Tony Randall ... Peddicord
Michael Talbott ... Clay
Shirley Kane Shirley Kane ... Aunt Eunice
William H. Macy ... Bronski (as W.H. Macy)
Beth Bosacker Beth Bosacker ... Rickie
Roy Jenson ... Blue
Gene LeBell Gene LeBell ... Paul
Susan Bishop Susan Bishop
Reuben Singer Reuben Singer
Thomas V. Mikkelsen Thomas V. Mikkelsen


College student Wes agrees to be a test subject in a psychological experiment involving shock treatments. The experiment goes wrong, but he and the cute scientist Susan who performed the experiment hit it off right away. Unfortunately, she's already engaged to a sleazy rich guy called Whitley whom her elitist mother adores. Wes and Susan get some help in dealing with the situation from her down-to-earth rich granddad who suspects Whitley is only with Susan for her money.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This is a picture of... A. A fancy wedding in Stuttgart? B. The _Animal House_ (qv)-_Meatballs_ (qv) class reunion? C. A Big-Man-On-Campus scoring with his chick using the old car-in-the-tree trick? D. None of the above. Answer: FOOLIN' AROUND. See more »


Comedy | Romance | Sport


PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 December 1980 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Amor por sorpresa See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

GCC See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In addition to both having being Oscar (Academy Award) nominees, lead cast members Gary Busey and Annette O'Toole, who were both Oscar nominated for Academy Awards in music related movies with both being unsuccessful, are also both natives of the American state of Texas. See more »


Daggett - a retired tycoon, Susan's grandfather: What... what in the name of high heaven do you know about the construction business? Whitley, uh. tell me, what's a heading bond?
Daggett - a retired tycoon, Susan's grandfather: A heading bond?
Whitley: A heading bond. A heading bond is a, uh...
Wes: [Through the HVAC duct] It's a pattern of brick bonding formed with wood beams set between two trimmers, Whitley. Damn.
Whitley: [laughs] This is... this is some sort of quiz... or joke.
Daggett - a retired tycoon, Susan's grandfather: What's a jackpile?
Whitley: A jackpile... uh... uh
Wes: [Through the HVAC duct] Come on, Whitley.
Whitley: I know that one! I know what that one is!
See more »

Alternate Versions

"Videotape versions of the film are ten minutes shorter" according to the American film guide publication 'Rating the Movies'. See more »

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User Reviews

Hilarious, Old-Time Film With Great Supporting Performances
13 June 2003 | by chrstphrtullySee all my reviews

This little seen film, which I caught for the first time over twenty years ago, is a wonderful throwback to 1930's screwball comedy in more ways than one. Young hick (Busey) starts college at the University of Minnesota, and falls in love with debutante O'Toole, despite her mother's intentions to marry her to society dolt Calvin. What ensues are a series of pratfalls and slapstick bits that, while not terribly deep, are nonetheless quite funny. More importantly, Busey and O'Toole are so damn likeable, you really do want them to fall in love.

But, like all great 1930s comedies, what makes the film sparkle is not the lead performances (in the 30s, these were usually played by likeable ingenues without much depth), but by the character actors who formed the background for the story. This film is no different in that the film is practically stolen from the leads by three splendid supporting performances -- Cloris Leachman as O'Toole's society-conscious mother, Eddie Albert as O'Toole's crusty grandfather and Busey's boss, and especially Tony Randall as Leachman's butler. Randall's performance deserves special note because his stiff demeanor is beautifully contrasted with his profane and off-color dialogue (the final words we hear from him, behind closed doors, almost made me fall off my chair laughing).

While no masterpiece, this is a wonderful picture to watch if you'd like a brief look at a long lost style of filmmaking.

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