Saturday, July 16, 2016
Movie Review: The Pick-Up Artist (1987) starring Robert Downey Jr. and Molly Ringwald
Apparently boredom combined with insomnia ends with me watching a really bad 1987 romantic comedy called The Pick-Up Artist and laughing despite its badness. Because, seriously, it's bad. But it has Robert Downey Jr., Molly Ringwald, and Dennis Hopper, so it's not the acting that's terrible, it's just the story.
After all, who really wants to watch a movie about a pick-up artist? That's his goal in life, to pick up chicks. He's like, perpetually horny, which is gross to say, but there it is. So when he meets Ringwald's character, it's surprising that something actually clicks and his brain doesn't immediately go on to try and find the next chick in line. Instead, she's special, probably because, yes she'll sleep with him (in the CAR by the way, and not halfway romantically like in Say Anything), but she wants nothing else to do with him after the intimacy. No name, no phone number, nothing. She'll exchange bodily fluids with a total stranger once but her personal life is off limits. I consider that weird and veeeeeeeeeeeery disturbing, but hey, I guess that's just me.
Turns out Ringwald's daddio, Dennis Hopper, is in debt to some sort of mafia to the tune of $25,000 (never did quite figure out how other than he likes to gamble). RDJ persists in his pursuit of her (which could be considered stalking). He finds out the trouble she's in, and he gets involved to keep her from selling her body to a creep who the mafia guy knows. I guess they're business partners or something.
Anyhow, drama, drama, drama, comedy, comedy, comedy, somehow RDJ takes his students (who hired this guy to be an elementary teacher!?) to a natural science museum WITHOUT the required number of adults or permission slips, then later on he and Ringwald magically win at roulette in Vegas to pay off the bad dudes, and finally everybody lives happily ever after.
Yahhhhh. You're wondering why I thought it funny, right? Well, it has its moments, all on RDJ's part. I had no idea he could run that much! He literally spends the entire film dashing from pillar to post, as it were. Does that saying date me? I love Molly Ringwald, but she and RDJ really weren't clicking and I'm not sure how that could have happened since he has chemistry with a rock.
I thought it was sort of profound that they hadn't kissed, not even during their one sex scene (nothing seen, just a voice over with his parked car in the distance). They only kissed at the end once she decided that she loved him. Kissing really is an intimate act, and this movie in its own stupid way manages to help prove that point. Although it's yet another story about people instantly falling in love. He's in love with her at the end of a few days. If the script had been done differently, I might have bought it, but not like this.
Really, the only reason to ever watch this movie is if you're an RDJ fan and this is the LAST of his films you've never seen. I was bored, that's my only excuse. And I will never watch it again. He does have a surprising gap in his teeth as the above GIF can attest. Not sure when he got that fixed, but he did at some point along his road to fame. It makes him look like he's 12 so I can see why he went in for a new set of choppers.
My hopes for a movie in the vein of the brilliant John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) were for naught. Had the screenplay writer taken a little more care, then The Pick-Up Artist might be considered one of those cult classic 80s films. Instead, it's probably better off just buried. It did give me a few laughs last night, though, so I guess that's something.