1956. Obsessed with the hottest girl in class, a gawky high school student takes a crash course in teenage coolness from his motorcycle rebel neighbour, under the watchful eye of the eternal symbol of teenage rebellion: James Dean.
Catherine Mary Stewart,
Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.
College freshman Walter (Gib) Gibson decides to go cross country to visit his friend in California during winter break. Awaiting there is a bikini-clad babe whom his friend assures him is a "sure thing". Meanwhile, Allison, a cute (but somewhat retentive) girl at Gib's college has also decided to head out to Cal. to see her boyfriend during break. Gib and Allison are thrust together on a road trip from hell, and somewhere along the way, they find each others company to be tolerable. Now, what will become of Gib's "sure thing?"Written by
I have a credit card. You have a credit card? Yea, but my father specifically told me only to use it in case of an emergency. Well maybe one will come up.
Love stories are hard to do right. Especially films in the 80's. They were more concerned with typical Porky's like shower scenes than they were with true love. And although Gib ( Cusack ) is promised a guaranteed lay if he makes his way down to California, the movie is not at all about getting laid and bare breasts and sex, it is about falling in love and the lengths we'll go to obtain the affection of the opposite sex.
The story starts off with Gib in his first year of some Ivy League school while his best friend from highschool, Lance (Anthony Edwards) is partying it up in sunny California. Gib is already striking out with the babes on his college campus and to make matters worse, Lance is seemingly getting action everyday. Then Gib walks into his English class and notices Allison, played by Daphne Zuniga. She is not your typical bimbo in the movies. She is smart, pretty, articulate and she flat out refuses his advances towards her. She does agree to see him strictly on a study basis and he ends up making himself look even more silly and barbaric. Eventually Gib and Allison end up in the same car pool to California. She is going to see her boyfriend and he is going to bang the Sure Thing. Later, a trucker remarks to Gib, " 3000 miles just to get laid, hey you pay the speeding tickets and I'll get you there." Of course along the way, Allison and Gib find they have a mutual admiration for each other and it is only up to the viewer to guess the outcome. Shouldn't be too difficult.
So far this may sound like pretty lame stuff and perhaps it could have been except for a few things. One is the writing, two is the acting and three has to be Rob Reiner. First of all, Allison and Gib are given plenty to do and they have much funny dialogue to go with it. Allison is goated into showing how she is not as repressed as Gib thinks she is by flashing her assets to a passing car. Gib teaches Allison how to "shotgun" a beer using "any household utensil, I use a pen." Gib rescues Allison from a would-be rapist in one of the funniest moments in the film ( I think I'll take your wife ). There are also some great performances by some of the supporting characters. Tim Robbins and Cusack must have met on the set of this movie and thus their strong friendship over the years can be accredited to the filming of this gem. Here, Robbins plays Gary Cooper, but the not the Gary Cooper that's dead, and he is one of the most annoying drivers that you could be stuck with for a cross country trip. Viveca Linfors plays the English professor and she has a way of making you want to learn how to write properly, learn Shakespeare and express yourself. As she says in the film, " Life is the ultimate experience, but you have to experience it in order to write about it." And of course Anthony Edwards is quite funny as Lance.
The Sure Thing is not raunchy the way Porky's or American Pie is. It is not crude the Fasttimes or Last Road Trip is. But it is honest in it's humour and fair with it's balance of love and lust. This is 15 years old but it is one of the best teen-comedies to come out of the 80's. 90's comedies and ones that are made in the new millenium are quite good, but there is an innocence that cannot be imitated from films like this. I think a film like Here On Earth may have had The Sure Thing ( or maybe an episode of Bold and Beautiful ) in mind when they made that film. It tried to be sweet and funny but failed miserably. The Sure Thing not only doesn't fail, it surpasses your expectations.
10 out of 10
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