5.2/10
5,769
29 user 12 critic

The Pick-up Artist (1987)

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

Director:

James Toback

Writer:

James Toback

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Molly Ringwald ... Randy Jensen
Robert Downey Jr. ... Jack Jericho (as Robert Downey)
Dennis Hopper ... Flash
Danny Aiello ... Phil
Mildred Dunnock ... Nellie
Harvey Keitel ... Alonzo
Brian Hamill Brian Hamill ... Mike
Tamara Bruno Tamara Bruno ... Karen
Vanessa Williams ... Rae
Angie Kempf Angie Kempf ... Jack's Student
Polly Draper ... Pat
Frederick Koehler ... Richie
Robert Towne ... Stan
Victoria Jackson ... Lulu
Lorraine Bracco ... Carla
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Storyline

In New York City, Jack Jericho, an elementary school teacher who lives with and takes care of his ailing grandmother Nellie, is a bit of a scammer, most notably demonstrated by he continually rehearsing his corny pick-up line in front of the mirror. Along with his good looking but slightly broken down vintage red Camaro convertible and his surface charm, Jack scours the streets for women he is attracted to to use his well-rehearsed pick-up line, he asking the important questions, such as marital status of his potential conquests, after the fact if he asks at all, the answers to which he doesn't really care. These pick-ups work a small percentage of the time, which is good enough for him as he collects his conquests' telephone numbers written down on a well-worn piece of paper he carries around with him at all times. Jack eventually uses his pick-up routine on two women he spies at a nightclub associated with who he will learn is mobster Alonzo Scolara. The first is Lulu, Alonzo's dumb... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 September 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El cazachicas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$13,290,368
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer and Director James Toback based the central character of Jack Jericho (Robert Downey, Jr.) on himself. See more »

Goofs

During the most of the movie, Randy wears a blouse is buttoned up to the neck and a necklace over the top of it. Except for the scene where she is exiting the casino after her big loss, as she walks out and her blouse is unbuttoned at the neck and she is not wearing the necklace. However, in the next scene the blouse is buttoned again and necklace returns. The description of an apparent discontinuity is accurate; however, in the shot with open blouse and sans necklace, Randy is also not wearing her jacket. In the following shot, as she emerges from the casino with Jack after her devastating setback, she has donned her jacket, buttoned her blouse, and restored her necklace. The apparent costume discontinuity dissolves in the brief lapse of unrecorded time. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Lonely Boy
Written by Paul Anka
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 MisterWhiplashSee 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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