Pretty in Pink (1986)
This is a really volcanic ensemble you're wearing, it's really marvelous! - Duckie
To be frank when it comes to John Hughes movies, be it written or directed by the great man, "Pretty in Pink" is one of my least favourites. There is something about, the slightly tame take on teenage love across social elements or the lack of anything truly funny, but something doesn't quite click for me and although there are some nice moments, some fun scenes, "Pretty in Pink" just doesn't quite do it for me.
With her mum having left and her father unemployed, Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald - The Breakfast Club) lives on the poor side of tracks, something she is a little concious of in a school which features numerous rich kids. With her best friends Iona (Annie Potts - Ghostbusters) and Duckie (Jon Cryer - Superman IV) she enjoys life but all that is about to chance when rich kid Blane (Andrew McCarthy - St. Elmos Fire) takes a fancy to her and asks her out. Ashamed of her poor status the relationship seems set to fail before it really gets going.
On face value "Pretty in Pink" is yet another version of the teenage romance where one is rich the other is poor and much of what goes on is about whether love can work in this situation. As such everything about it is predictable, not terrible for being so, just a little too boring. There is nothing there to spice up this traditional storyline to make it more than other takes on it. Even when the relationship hits a rocky patch you can guess where it's going to go and for those who have watched a lot of movies will be screaming out for something fresh, some quirky twist from the depths of John Hughes imagination to liven it up.
But despite being that horrible word, routine, "Pretty in Pink" has those moments such as the tip toeing around as Blane tries to pluck up courage to ask Andie out, while she seems a little bashful. It's honest because this is what happens in the real world and as such many of those situations, those knowing moments are easy to recognize with, even recollect over your own first steps into the world of dating. It's this honesty which gives "Pretty in Pink" a certain amount of charm, which helps stop it drying up into a tedious bore of rom-com pretence.
Aside from this honesty, there are other elements which help "Pretty in Pink" being too straight and Annie Potts as Iona with her ever changing hair and fashion is remarkably entertaining. It's almost like a whole teens experience of defining themselves by how they look is rolled up in just this one character which in a strange way is quite amusing as she plays Andie's older friend. Talking of Andie, well Molly Ringwald delivers that charming every girl next door routine perfectly. She's adorable, cute and lovable but not weak, not just a female character easily manipulated.
The good performances carry of with Andrew McCarthy doing a nice job of the slightly nervous rich kid Blane and also Jon Cryer is fun as the wackily dressed and also named Duckie, who comes across like a first draft of Matthew Broderick's character in the more entertaining "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". But then there is James Spader as rich kid Steff is seriously out of place, most notably being 26 when this was released seriously too old to play a convincing high school student.
What this all boils down to is that although it's not terrible with some genuinely good moments "Pretty in Pink" suffers because of the completely predictable storyline. Despite those nice moments, some good performances and at times a slight feeling of being fun there is nothing which makes it feel any different to various other movies which try to breathe life into the tale of love across social classes.
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